Oh Yes! The Rollercoaster Of The Mind
The New York Times brings us this remarkable story about The Voyage. That's right. A roller coaster. A wooden one. And video. What a surprise this is. You gotta love it:
The first drop is a doozy. From the summit of the wooden roller coaster called the Voyage, 163 feet above the Holiday World theme park in the rolling woodlands of southern Indiana, the track drops 154 feet at a 66-degree angle. The cars quickly reach a top speed of nearly 70 miles an hour.
Those gasp-inducing numbers help explain why more than a million people a year visit Holiday World, which is a ways off the beaten track, and why the Voyage, one of three large wooden coasters at the park, earns high marks from connoisseurs.
But for Chad Miller, one of the ride’s designers, the most important feature of that first hill is the curve at the top.
“The secret of the first drop is shaping up that parabola and getting it exactly right,” said Mr. Miller, 38, an owner of the Gravity Group, one of about a dozen coaster design firms in the world. “It gives you just the right amount of air time, especially in the back seat.”
“Air time” is coaster vernacular for negative G-forces that lift the rider out of the seat, and results from changes in the car’s speed. Along its 1.2 miles of track — it’s the second-longest wooden coaster in the world — the Voyage has plenty of steep drops and tight curves that affect speed, making for 24 seconds of air time, an unofficial record.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then the video. Wow!