S&S Sonic Boom Freefall

Associated parks:
None

Monday, November 21, 2005 10:28 AM
While in Salt Lake City for business recently I had an opportunity to drive 90 mins north to Logan and visit my friend Joe, who works at S&S. Those of you who were at CAC might have met Joe and his friend Tim, who also works for S&S.

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:

http://www.johnnyupsidedown.com/eventSIL.html

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***

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Monday, November 21, 2005 11:18 AM
Wow, I'll be sure to buy a Sonic Boom when my Super Lotto ticket hits. ;)
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Monday, November 21, 2005 11:20 AM
I still don't get the point of the ride. I mean, how many drop tower variations do we really need? It's a neat science experiment, but I can't really get much more excited than that.
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Monday, November 21, 2005 11:22 AM
I think that's just it, Jeff. It was an experiment...to see/prove it could be done.

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.

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Monday, November 21, 2005 11:55 AM
Now that we know it can be done, the concept can be applied elsewhere and improved upon.
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Monday, November 21, 2005 12:05 PM
It looks completely terrifying and insane. I know most of us will never have the opportunity to take a ride on this thing. Thanks of the TR.
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Monday, November 21, 2005 12:53 PM
I hate freefalls, drop towers, and basically anything that features height as the main attraction.

But this thing sounds pretty cool. If I had the chance, I might even ride it.

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Monday, November 21, 2005 1:33 PM
I am all for it! If it's more intense than the Drop Zone and Pittfall (and the other Intamin drops..all generations) I will do it in a heartbeat!

I LOVE height. The higher the better. ;-)

-Tina

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Monday, November 21, 2005 2:50 PM
That hole you drop in has to like tiny from the top which also adds to the thrill that no other drop tower can. Kinda like the old cartoons were the guy would jump from something really high up into a tiny little cup of water.
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Monday, November 21, 2005 3:47 PM
so they named it after a Street Fighter character move heh? I think it was Ken or Ryu that did a fireball move and it goes

sonic boom, sonic boom

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Monday, November 21, 2005 4:48 PM
That would be the man, the myth, the legend... Guile who could do the Sonic Boom ( + punch).
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Monday, November 21, 2005 5:39 PM
I always just did the speed kick with chung li. Haha.

Anyways, I think there are 100 other meanings for sonic boom I woud look to before Guile.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005 12:02 AM
I'm actually scared thinking about that thing. Seems really terrifying.

Oh, and this is the greatest wallpaper ever.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005 11:34 AM
Thanks Onceler, I knew it was someone from SF.
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Saturday, November 26, 2005 12:35 AM
What is a Snow Shot? I know what a Space Shot is, but what's this thing?
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Saturday, November 26, 2005 8:05 AM
Basically.. drag racing snowmobiles.. but on a track without snow..
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Saturday, November 26, 2005 4:29 PM
There is [or used to be] a Snow Shot in Kissimmee.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005 2:09 AM
They really should combine ventures down there in Kissimmee and make one "real park", now it's even less sensible than ThrillVille and Enchanted Forest...no worse than Coney's set-up though I guess, LOL....
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