Sonny used to give many different rides, depending on the time of day, and year. Believe it or not, but I have had rides on that thing that were just as smooth as the rides I have gotten on Collossus at Heide Park, yet, the next day, the rides were pretty darned intense.
The last ride I took on Sonny was August of last year. This was after they modified the restraints. While the roughness has never really bothered me before, the new modified restraints make it less enjoyable for me for some reason.
I know the park isn't done tweaking the ride to get it running the best it can. Heck, it took Flight of Fear 5 years to make a huge difference. I do have faith in PKI as they do care about SoB. Personally speaking, I think I will just wait it out to see what they have in store for more improvements.
There is no doubt in my mind we will see another record breaking woodie with updated technology and maybe even another looper or so (yes, I love the loop on Sonny so sue me). I see no reason why another one can't be built. Just because there are some mega woodies out there that have proved to be less sucessfull doesn't always mean a future product is going to be a dud. If we went with that notion than we probably wouldn't have a single looping coaster to ride nowdays as the original looping coasters of yesteryear weren't exactly huge hits.
*** Edited 4/14/2004 12:05:47 AM UTC by Sean Flaharty***
Gemini HAS ALWAYS BEEN a steel coaster. In fact, there isn't enough structure there to support a wood track.
But then, converting Son of Beast to a steel track wouldn't help one bit. Neither would converting it to Intamin's impossible-to-repair machined wood track. Not, at any rate, without significant changes to the *trains*.
Son of Beast has a lousy layout, which was dictated by the size of the ride. The size of the ride was dictated by the size of the loop, and the loop is as small as it could possibly be with those godawful trains. The trains are a colossal failure, both mechanically and anatomically. That is, they're awful to ride in, and they run like crap.
That said, there are some great ideas there. The original seating configuration was decent. The use of...what are those...30" wheels? That is a good idea. They blew it with the configuration. The car bodies are too long for the wheelbase length. The cars CANNOT steer, through a course that is nothing but curves. Look at the places where the ride runs poorly: the high points in the helixes. And look at the places where it runs well: the first and last drops, and the loop. And look at the places where it's OK...when it's not jackhammering, it's fine in the bottom of the big helix. It's not the places of maximum speed and force where the ride runs like crap, it's the high, slow spots. And that's indicative of a train problem.
Personally, I think they should switch to a train of 2-bench trailered cars, trailered like the Arrow Corkscrew cars, with the axles located between the cars. Do that, put soft seats in it, and they could save the ride. And in the process they can probably eliminate a lot of the track wear.
Unfortunately, they're gonna concentrate on fiddling with the structure for at least another season. Kind of like the way they kept fiddling with everything on Flight of Fear EXCEPT for the thing that was really causing the trouble.........
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
And with ALL due respect to the G-train lovers, it never failed to impress me that none other than Jeff Hammersly *addressed* specifically that issue ASAP when dealing with "his baby"....think he knows anything about caring for wooden coasters? Nah, didn't THINK so....;)
It's possible and it won't be too expensive, 75% of the ride can stay. And the park can advertise with the new Son of Beast, smoother, faster, meaner and even scarier.
The track for Colossos and Balder was done by a german wood processing company, but I am sure that there are numerous companies in the USA, maybe even close to PKI to deliver those tracks in no-time.
I am not sure if a retrofit would be possible or even a good idea right now.
When Son of Beast was under construction, and I heard that new trains were being built from the ground up for the ride, by Premier, I realy expected that Son of Beast would be the wood coaster that demonstrated conclusively that there is nothing inherently wrong with a 200' tall wood coaster. I figured that the engineers at Premier would build the train so that it could do all the things the ride required. In fact, I expected that the Son of Beast trains would be based on the Flight of Fear chassis, with the wheel assemblies mounted on the ends of axles attached to the ride center beam by means of a spherical bearing, with enough clearance to handle the banking with one axle, and with both axles able to steer.
Then the train turned out to be nothing more than a bad copy of every Gerstlauer and PTC single-axis articulating chassis. When they did that, they took all the problems of all the existing big woodies and multiplied them.
The solution is out there, and as much as coaster nuts may hate it, the Morgan coaster train chassis is a real good place to start...
--Dave Althoff, Jr. *** Edited 4/15/2004 2:12:28 AM UTC by RideMan***
How do you suspect M Flyers would handle the course? *** Edited 4/14/2004 10:14:33 PM UTC by Peabody***
But it wasn't the lap bar that I found to be the biggest problem. It was that piece of rubber that sticks up between your feet. I'm not really sure what it was. But it ended up pinning my feet against that, and pressing the lap bar firmly into my leg.
By the time the ride was over my feet and legs would be nearly numb from the loss of circulation.
The ride itself I thought was pretty good. Not the best I've been on, but definetly not the worst. Although I had to wonder why they put the on-ride photo where they did?
At Hersheypark, I am led to believe that the Wildcat has been partially or totally retracked more than once since it opened.
Rumor has it that down the midway, Lightning Racer has not required any track replacement yet.
The rides are far from identical. But they are both GCI coasters designed by Boodley and built by Hain. The Wildcat is several years older than Lightning Racer. The Wildcat runs a couple of PTC articulated trains. Lightning Racer runs a couple pair of GCI Millennium Flyer trains.
Draw your own conclusions.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
The big advantage is that they whould need to ship the track oversea from Germany, as the wooden mill that produce that track is located near Montreal, Quebec.
Just some food for through.
Riddle me this... Are wood coasters generally the same width track? I mean could you simple "swap in" Millennium Flyers? I read a great post somewhere (I'll see if I can dig it up) that explained why so many wood coasters "Shuffle" through the course. It had to do with trailered trains. Stay tuned, if I find it, I'll link to it.
The biggest point in that article is that trailered trains when improperly designed will shuffle like crazy. When I wrote that article, the two biggest wood coaster problems were the trailered trains on Raging Wolf Bobs and Predator and the non-steering articulated trains on Mean Streak and similar coasters. The trains on Son of Beast are mechanically identical to the PTC articulated cars, but are proportioned differently. The GCI Millennium Flyer trains are trailered, but they are very different from the trailered PTC trains, because of the position of the hitch point. The GCI trains are similar in geometry to the Morgan trains.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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