Where is Bullet? Zonga?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:51 PM
Anyone know? I'd do anything to get to try out Bullet/Weiner Looping. I've read reviews that it was really wild - bet it would be pretty good with just a lap bar!

I know both of these coasters originally ran with just a lap bar. That sounds good to me!

Since the Bullet left Flamingoland, where did it go?

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:01 PM
Zonga is now on the Mexican fair circuit I believe.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:07 PM
^^No, Wiener Looping first had the lapbar plus OTSR which were also used on the Katapult-rides. It was later outfitted with the ratcheting accordeon restraints that were/are used on Thriller and Olympia Loop.

Thriller used to have a lapbar and a simple shoulder belt (you just put around your upper body) in its first year of operation. The accordeon restraints followed in its second year.

As for the wereabouts: I think that Zonga is still in SFs posession. I don´t know if somebody bought it.

Wiener Looping is most likely gone for good. The ride was such a powerful and abrasive machine that it became a maintenance nightmare. When it resided at Flamingoland, they had several scheduled downtimes during each day to check the ride. *** Edited 3/19/2008 8:08:06 PM UTC by tricktrack***

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:07 PM
There's a Mexican fair circuit?

Seems like there's a Bermuda Triangle that sorta swallows up old Schwarzkopfs. Zonga, Weiner Looping, Conklin's Double Loop... if anyone knows that way in, let me know!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:12 PM
^^tricktrack, there are pics in Rollercoaster! magazine that show the Thriller running with only a lapbar :)

Did you get to ride Bullet much?

These old Anton/Werner coasters seem to be very well-designed to last. Sure, they have problems, but what great rides!

It's too bad Six Flags chose to sell the Astroworld Viper for scrap. I only rode that particular looper a few times, and from what I remember it wasn't as well run/maintained as the other Looping Stars. Maybe it was that Texas heat...

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:18 PM
Pretty much all Schwarzakopf loopers were designed to run with lapbars. OTRSs were added to certain rides later on, like Thriller and Revolution.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 9:11 PM
Why did they change them? *** Edited 3/20/2008 4:29:05 AM UTC by Fun***
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 10:22 PM
Lawyers and todays society ruin everything...that's why you see added restraints like seatbelts and OTSRs on everything outside of the smaller parks in this country.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008 12:28 AM
I wouldn't necessarily say that... Quite a few people have found themselves "unrestrained" while riding an Intamin lapbar coaster, yet those all still have a lap bar.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008 5:34 AM
@coastercomet:
Maybe I have worded it a bit strange.
When Thriller opened it only had a lapbar. The shoulder strap I was talking about was just a single leatherbelt that was mounted at the side of the headrest (if memory serves me right, it was 22 years ago!) They were comparable to those straps you find on some Autoscooters/Boxcars.

The operators were not paying any attention if you "put it on" correctly or if you wore it at all. Some kids wore it around their neck!

I guess that the strap was there to prevent upper bodies to slump forward in the transition between first drop and loop. Many people were just not aware of the powerful forces that hit you after that fantastically evil first drop.
You would see many people´s heads fall forward and facing their feet. Once you were in that position it was practically impossible to get in sit back upright before the train hit the first blockbrake.

The other reason for the belt could have been the brutal, lateral jolt you experienced during the second half of the last twistd inversion.

My experience with Thriller was on its second fair in its maiden year, so it is possible that those leather belts were installed between the two fairs.

Anyway, one year later Thriller was retrofitted with the ratcheting shoulder bars. They did make the ride a bit less jarring, but their bad tendency to come further down on you as the gs compressed your spine was (and is) a real deterrent. At least they don´t give you headaches.

I only rode The Bullet a few times in horrible Flamingoland. It was sad to see this totally great and intense machine and Dreier Looping (which is my favourite Schwarkopf looper) rot away in this shabby park. At least Dreier shines again in Mexico.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 9:57 AM

CoasterComet said:
It's too bad Six Flags chose to sell the Astroworld Viper for scrap. I only rode that particular looper a few times, and from what I remember it wasn't as well run/maintained as the other Looping Stars. Maybe it was that Texas heat...

Perhaps your memory is a bit fuzzy, as Viper was in mint condition right up until its last day. Silver Bullet at Frontier City is the one that I always found to be a little on the rough side. It's such a tragedy that Six Flags didn't put much effort into getting Viper sold. It would have been great for DelGrosso's--much better that that piece of Arrow junk they purchased.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 10:17 AM
When Bobbejaanland decided to get rid of their Looping Star in favour of the stupid Gerstlauer Eurofighter they had to face the problem that the track joints of this mobile coaster had "merged" together during its twenty years of operation.
The ride was practically fighting against demolition. This might be a similar problem for parks who might think of selling an old Anton which was designed for constant moving.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008 12:00 PM
^^^tricktrack, thanks for clearing that up :) It would be hard to see those straps in the pictures if people aren't wearing them.

Revolution had that problem of people lurching forwards - I'm pretty sure that is the main reason for the OTSR. There are solutions though... I mean 10 mil on X, come on, let's work Revolution.

^^Jeffrey, what I was referring to was the actual ride experiences I had on Viper. It seemed the ride was sluggish compared to the Silver Bullet at Frontierland. I rode Silver Bullet many times, but Viper on a few times, on 2 different occasions. It was probably just the day I was there, humidity, etc.

^tricktrack, I agree with you on the G Eurofighters. Having only ridden the one at Dollywood, it seems the design is flawed in that it not only bashes your head into the OTSR but also throws your body forward quite a bit.

That type of thing (being thrown forward into lapbar/OTSR) might be OK on a ride with lots of padding and NO OTSR, but it seemed it was worked into the designs (or maybe NOT worked OUT) of both the Eurofighters and 'Backlot' coasters.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 1:20 PM

tricktrack said:
^^No, Wiener Looping first had the lapbar plus OTSR which were also used on the Katapult-rides. It was later outfitted with the ratcheting accordeon restraints that were/are used on Thriller and Olympia Loop.

No, Wiener Looping opened in 1982 with a single ratcheting lap bar. Nothing else. After it left Vienna, I rode it once again at Florida's Circus World. It still used ONLY the lap bar while in Florida.

The accordion OTSRs showed up on Thriller and Wiener Looping AFTER the June 1986 accident on the WEM Mindbender.

I rode WL once again at the 1989 Oktoberfest in Munich. There it was called simply "Shuttle" and it had not only the OTSRs, but also an additional set of friction tires on the reverse spike. This allowed the initial launch to be less harsh. I never rode it at Flamingoland but I heard it was once more headed to the German fair circuit.

Thriller was brokered by a ride re-seller and reportedly sent to a Mexican showmen. If it ever reopens, it would great if they dumped the silly Six Flags modifications and had Wieland Schwarzkopf build them a new set of 'original' trains.

One can dream ...

i.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 5:47 PM
mexico - tomorrows yesterday coaster dreamland
:o)
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Thursday, March 20, 2008 5:56 PM
^I was always under the impression that Wiener Looping and Katapult shared the same restraint system. But I guess you are right and why should the have changed from the OTSR to the accordeons?

But I fail to see the connection between the canadian Mindbender accident and Thriller which had its debut in 1986.
Thrillers restraints remained unchanged during the first season. If the Mindbender accident would have had any result in changing the restraints I am sure that they would have changed other Schwarzkopfs rides as well.
After the wheel assembly broke, the bent brake-fin pressed on the lever which opened the restraints and other lapbar only rides are still operating today.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 6:53 PM
^Are you sure that's how the lapbars opened up on Mindbender, tricktrack? I remember reading that it was due to extreme vibration.

Those awful accordion things are a back-up I think. After the Mindbender incident, seems they didn't want to take any chances.

It's also a different wheel assembly than the pre-Thriller Anton/Werner/Intamin coasters. Seems the later rides had larger wheels, no in the casing/wrap-around-the-track thing.

The later coasters also had MUCH wilder designs than the early ones - therefore higher stresses, etc.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 9:51 PM
I rode Thriller on day 3 of its operation -
the seatbelt somehow got cancelled from my memory for a while, but the more I think about it, it had one, because I remember feeling kind of sci-fi about fastening it - felt like flying to the moon.
:)

It was a pretty brutal ride nevertheless.

I have heard Mr Schwarzkopf was indeed very shocked about the Mindbender accident - while I also agree that the OTSR must have been added to keep the rider's upper body upright during hi-G sections, I think security concerns where also part of the reason.

But unfortunately I have no sources to cite apart from the usual hearsay.

mexico: where lost coasters still live

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Friday, March 21, 2008 1:35 AM

CoasterComet said:
^Are you sure that's how the lapbars opened up on Mindbender, tricktrack? I remember reading that it was due to extreme vibration.

The accident on Mindbender had nothing to do with the restraints. Instead, the wheel assembly on the last car basically fell off, causing the car to partially derail and strike a concrete pillar as the ride enters the third loop, twice (once going forward and once going backward as the derailed car prevented the train from clearing the loop). Yes, it did throw at least one person from the ride, which can be confirmed by the infamous photo of the incident that I would rather not dig up again, but the cause of the accident was certainly not restraint failure.

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Friday, March 21, 2008 7:18 AM
^The restraint failure was a direct result of this.
The Mindbender-accident is widely described in a whole chapter of the Werner Stengel-book and I wrote about it here several times.

The final report says came to this conclusion (and I translate from the book):
The train with 16 people onboard started its ride at 21:55, short before closing. It passed the first two drops and the two loops. When it entered the third drop after the second blockbrake the rear, left wheel assembly detached from the car.

The train took on speed in the drop and it pulled the last car, which was now sliding over the track with it.
This sliding caused deformation to the brake fin, which was mounted to the lower sides of the car. The deformed fin pressed on the foot-lever (the manual release for the lapbars) and caused the opening of the restraints.

Then the sliding car hit a support pillar and three riders (one woman, two men) fell out. They died on the spot.

The train entered the third loop but it had not enough momentum and rolled back before it reached the apex.

The last car hit a pillar again which caused the last remaing rider in this car to fall out. He fell to the ground with severe injuries.

The remaining 12 passengers suffered fractures, concussions and severe mental shocks.

When Stengel and Schwarzkopf arrived in Canada on the next day, they found numerous bolts and screws on certain spots on the ground.
At first it was believed that the design and the materials of the ride were at fault. It was also believed that the operator was at fault for faulty maintenance.

Stengel´s plans could prove that the design was not to be blamed and the state attourneys were unable to finalize the report because they could not decide who was to blame for the accident.

Because of the outstanding decision the insurance company denied any further operation of the coaster and so the park contacted Stengel again to find out what really happened.

Because the wheel assembly was literally "blasted" off the car, Stengel asked for a pull through.
The car was to be outfitted with a measuirng device to determine the pressure on the paralled axe-bolts at any point throughout the course.

The results should have been close to zero but the pressure on the axes was suprisingly high.

The track was then measured and this revealed that the track gauge was constant at all times. And this was wrong!

Due to the flanged wheels, the track gauge has to become narrower in curves. According to Stengels design the gauge should have been reduced by 23 millimeters during curves but it remained constant.

This put high pressure on the wheels and assemblies everytime they passed the faulty section until they finally broke.

Stengel could prove that his design was correct and that the factory had built a "stencil" that was to be used to build the track accordingly.

So the blame would have gone to Anton Schwarzkopf. But during the time "Minbender" and "Thriller" were built, Schwarzkopfs company was already bancrupt and in liquidation.
The factory was seeing various "bosses" over a short period of time who tried to enrich themselves in the process.
Anton Schwarzkopf himself was denied access to his factory and he was not there to oversee the construction.

So in the end the accident was the result of various faults which can not be attributed to one particular source.

phew...

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