Logan thrill ride company has worldwide claims to fame
S&S Power of Logan has become a leader in thrill rides. Its latest project is the world's first air-launched roller-coaster. The new coaster was sold to Paramount's Kings Dominion in the summer of 2001.
The revolutionary ride has zero-gravity airtime and a freefall sensation. The ride's acceleration mechanism works off of compressed air. It goes from 0 to 80 mph in 1.8 seconds.
According to Paramount's Kings Dominion, "riders immediately ascend the 165 foot-tall, vertical tower at a dramatic 90-degree angle. Then it's over the top as riders descend the tower at the opposite 90-degree angle."
When the ride was first invented it was titled Air Thrust 2000. When Paramount's Kings Dominion received the ride they named it HyperSonic XLC. It was the park's main attraction for the year of 2001 despite many maintenance problems.
Quin Checketts was the senior project manager when S&S was building the first model of the Air Thrust 2000. He said when the HyperSonic was built it was just a prototype. He said as with any new product there are a lot of quirks that must be worked out before it is in good working order. There were many improvements that needed to be made before it was shipped to the park in Virginia.
"Out of the goodness of our hearts we made massive improvements, before it was shipped," Checketts said.
Some of the major problems were the length of the track, and the tires. When S&S decided to build Air Thrust 2000 they knew they would need a track. S&S had never built a track for any of their previous rides. They hired a company in Las Vegas to build the track for them.
Checketts said they under-engineered the track to be too short. The high speeds caused by the air compressed launching system would cause the track to crack in places.
There were also problems with the tires. Air Thrust 2000 used pneumatic tires, the kind used on airplanes. The first type of tires used were very noisy and would not be practical to have in an area that accommodated a large number of people. S&S ended up switching to the pneumatic tires because they would provide a smoother, quieter ride.
There were also problems with the heavy G forces. They would end up crushing the tires. There were also flaws in the hub that would cause the tires to go flat. These are all ongoing problems that Paramount's Kings Dominion's maintenance crew is constantly working on with the engineers to improve the ride.
"Naturally all of those issues were solved for our second roller coaster in Japan," said Checketts.
HyperSonic XLC has won ride of the year for 2001 and broken some world records for speed. It is now the fastest roller-coaster in the world. It opened on the morning of March 24, 2001.
Posting on coastercavern.com, Chopper Guy, a ride enthusiast who lives in Virginia, described HyperSonic as a marvel of our times. He worried that the ride does not have enough capacity. It only has four cars that seat eight people each. Capacity was a common concern among fellow riders. Most of the reviews posted on the website were positive and enthusiastic, but there were many complaints about the long waiting and the poor service of the staff of the park.
Paramount's Kings Dominion introduces a new ride every year and is looking forward to its new attraction for 2002. S&S Power is always thinking of new rides and inventing new and exciting experiences for thrill seekers.