Anyway before heading up to the factory Joe had me meet him at the small "fun park" S&S is building in Logan to showcase some of their rides. While it does not open until next spring there are already a few rides built and operational including a Thrillshot, Sky Coaster, Screaming Swing, Snowshot, and a 360 foot monstrosity called the Sonic Boom - a ride they claim is the world's tallest free-fall. I asked Joe if there were plans for any of the company's coasters -- currently there are no plans to feature any of them but that may change.
Sonic Boom is an odd contraption. The tower looks like a ham radio tower with a track running down one side. The vehicle is shaped like a tylenol pill and features two seats with seatbelts but nothing to grab onto. The vehicle has a plexiglass front and the view of the valley from the top is incredible!
There is no traditional braking on this ride. Instead at the bottom of the ride the car enters a tube that has a diameter 2" larger than that of the car. The car has a leather gasket around the circumference to fill in the 1" gap between the car and the tube. When the car enters the tube -- going over 90MPH! -- the air in the tube is compressed, slowing the car to a perfect stop. The sound of the compressed air creates a loud BOOM! -- hence the name of the ride.
So after a few test rides Joe and I strap ourselves in and put on protective earplugs and another S&S employee closes the hatch. It's pitch black inside. Then suddenly we begin to rise. The lift mechanism speeds up and before I know it we're 360 feet up. Joe reaches forward and pushes the release button and we drop.
There is silence as we plummet faster and faster and faster, the accelleration and feeling of freefalling gaining in intensity. The car plunges so quickly that the air rushes out of your lungs and the last 50 feet of the ride feels as if you've had the wind knocked out of you.
Then suddenly everything goes dark as you enter the tube. Depsite the earplugs you can hear a muffled BOOM! The deceleration is fast at first, and then the car slowly lowers. Without warning the hatch opens and you realize you're stopped at the bottom.
What an adreneline rush!
Joe and I rode twice more and then let some other employees take their turns. We head up to the factory for a tour and then to a new steakhouse in town for a nice dinner.
FYI, pictures of Sonic Boom can be found at the bottom of this page:
Due to the capacity and noise issues its doubtful you'll find this at any park. If I am not mistaken it Stan built it mostly just to show that it could be done.
*** Edited 11/21/2005 3:29:45 PM UTC by Mamoosh***
FYI, I've ridden the Intamin drop rides at Kennywood and PKD and I didn't get anywhere near the falling sensation that I did on Sonic Boom. It was truly the most intense I've ever felt.
But this thing sounds pretty cool. If I had the chance, I might even ride it.
I LOVE height. The higher the better. ;-)
sonic boom, sonic boom
Anyways, I think there are 100 other meanings for sonic boom I woud look to before Guile.
Oh, and this is the greatest wallpaper ever.
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