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Will we see another mega-looper?

LoneStar LoneStar Profile

Posted:
3/5/12 at
11:49:09 PM

Do yall think we will ever see another mega-looper? Other than X2 and SOB (original), we haven't seen any super-tall looping coasters. It seems once a coaster design starts pushing the 160-170 foot range, it's almost as if there is a law that states it cannot have any inversions.

When Toomer was designing his mega loopers, he was pushing for record-breaking height, speed, and inversions. Why did this trend end?

Personally I'd love to see a 200+ foot coaster that mixed the elements of a hyper and a looper. I understand that a 200+ foot drop is not necessary to create enough speed for a train to master multiple inversions. But why don't we see any more Steel Phantom-esque loopers?

I understand cost is always a restriction, plus designers want to couple height and airtime with open-air trains, which limit inverstion capability. But do yal think we'll ever see such a hyper-looper combo again?

- Pat-O

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by alpengeistno3 at 3/6/12 1:32:01 AM
If you look at the mega loopers of old, especially the Toomer ones, they typically sat on a huge 5-10 acre plot of open space (I'm thinking of the triplets since they were the tallest multi-inversion loopers built.) Even the B&M 7 loopers seem to require a huge open plot of land. Most large parks don't have that kind of open space any more. This is part of the reason why Scream Machine and Shockwave were scrapped rather than moved (besides their other more obvious flaws).

Can a park still build a huge, multi looper coaster? Probably, but let's face it. Looping had its time 30 years ago. If given the choice between a hyper and a looper, most park guests' favorite ride will almost always be the hyper.

Like all things, there will be a time when people start to crave loops again. But not until manufacturers come up with a more comfortable restraint system (no matter how smooth the ride, someone is always going to complain about the OTSR's banging their ears. ALWAYS!!) There are new systems out there, but until they become standard for loopers, we are not going to see any over the current 150- 180 ft range. Really, what is the point of going higher when even a 10 inversion coaster can be built at 150 ft?

Paul

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 3/6/12 9:06:11 AM
alpengeistno3 said:

I Really, what is the point of going higher when even a 10 inversion coaster can be built at 150 ft?

Paul

Because it's cool and fun!

I totally get what you're saying - heck look at the last several years of Golden Tickets. The top 10 steel coasters include only 1, maybe 2 loopers.

It's just a thought. I like the concept of Maverick - it contains 2 iversions, but they arent the main feature of the coaster. They add to the experience and blend in perfectly with the overall concept of the coaster. I'd like to see something like that on a Hyper. Same thing with Cheetah and Furios Baco - the inversions just add to the experience without being the central elements like on Toomer's designs.

- Pat-O

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by squirrels at 3/6/12 2:41:37 PM
I used to think that height and speed could never trump a coaster with all kinds of crazy inversions. After riding I305, I rescinded that statement. :)

Speed is "in" right now. So coaster designers want to find the best way to take advantage of high-speed rides. Hypers can get up to 70-80mph. Gigas will get up to 90 easy. Accelerators are up around 120.

Most looping coasters run about 60mph. There's a lot of reasons that a loop is harder to design at higher speeds, such as the extra Gs applied to the riders, the support/space requirements, and the problem of maintaining high-speed through the top of a hyper-sized loop.

What you see a lot of instead are overbanked turns. MF is a perfect example...its overbanks are so extreme they almost act as inclined loops, but because they aren't as tall as a full loop, they maintain speed, and they also turn the coaster around, allowing it to fit a smaller footprint. I-305 does this too, but its overbanks are almost horizontal. Thus the coaster gives positive Gs like a loop but maintains the speed that is essential to the experience.

Unless you're dead-set on that, "Oh sh** I'm upside down" feeling, the inversion isn't really essential to the experience. And if you are, most big theme parks already have at least one (most have 2 or 3) rides that can give you that feeling. The "loopers" have already been built in all the major parks. They're looking for something new. And speed is "in".

If you were building a new theme park, what would make more sense? Throw a lot of money into a 10-loop corkscrewing monster that's been done at every other park within a 3-hour drive? Or buy a plug-n-play Invertigo design from Vekoma for the upside-down crowd and spend your real money on a world-class hyper that will draw speed-fans and air-time fans alike and can be seen from miles away??

Now would I LIKE to see hyper-loopers?? Well...it's me. :) Of course I would. In this economy, though, you would need a VERY bold idea that perfectly fuses the ideas of height/speed and inversions to draw enough of a crowd to offset the cost. It's a big risk/investment for any park to make.

In fact, in this economy, I question the future of roller coasters in general. I'm a pessimist, though. :p

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by alpengeistno3 at 3/6/12 7:15:50 PM
LoneStar said:

alpengeistno3 said:

I Really, what is the point of going higher when even a 10 inversion coaster can be built at 150 ft?

Paul

Because it's cool and fun!


And not what the parks are choosing to spend their money on (mostly due to current public opinion.)


LoneStar said:

It's just a thought. I like the concept of Maverick - it contains 2 iversions, but they arent the main feature of the coaster. They add to the experience and blend in perfectly with the overall concept of the coaster. I'd like to see something like that on a Hyper. Same thing with Cheetah and Furios Baco - the inversions just add to the experience without being the central elements like on Toomer's designs.

- Pat-O

So you want to see some more hybrids. Other than the seemingly impending influx of wing riders, that is probably the only way we will see any new loopers being built in the foreseeable future. However, you asked about mega loopers, implying they needed to be large/tall, which would not apply to any of the examples you named. Are we going to get a 200 ft version of a Maverick or Cheetah Hunt? Maybe, but that goes back to the restraint issue I mentioned above. Until parks can truly convince GP and the insurance providers that is "okay to go upside down without OTSR's," a large profile looping coaster just is not likely to happen.

Paul

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 3/6/12 8:32:25 PM
First off, squirrel, I'd say you may be a little too pessimistic about the economy. We have not seen a major slowdown in coaster construction in the past 4-5 years. In fact, KD made a very very large investment in its last coaster.


You have a good point about boomerangs, and now we have a new design to replace the small footprint multi-lopper - the Eurofighter. These are small, relatively affordable. While smaller parks can afford the cookie cutter versions, Mack has proven willing to customize in many cases.

I am impressed with the industry's ability to stay creative. While the mega-looper days may be over, we now have EuroFighters, Flying coasters, X-Cars, Wing Coasters, and whatever-that-thing-is-out-in-Discovery-Kingdom-is to keep us inversion lovers happy.

- Pat-O

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 3/6/12 10:12:28 PM
I'd love to see a hybrid combining the hills and speed of a hyper with the inversions of a looper as suggested by Pat-O. I agree with Paul about the restraints but they have gotten a bit better (the light ones on KK for example are FAR better than the Arrow ear-bleeding harnesses).

As for the Maverick/Fahrenheit type hybrids - don't like them. To me they are ALL about inversions and no hills or speed. I think a good combo are the floorless coasters like Medusa (Bizarro). I think that coaster has so many great elements that the lack of speed isn't even missed. Too bad they pretty much stopped making them. I think there is so much potential in the floorless designs.

Jen

Jen
Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by mucciared at 3/6/12 11:56:27 PM
Jen, did we ride two seperate Mavericks? LOL

When Cedar Point announced Maverick I will admit I was disappointed as it paled in comparison to the coasters they built just a few years prior. However, that all changed when I rode it.

What a great combination of every element - speed, air, inversions, even theming. You can't ask for much more in a rollercoaster. It packs a powerful punch start to finish and the long lines prove Cedar Point made a great investment.

I would be happy to see one of my local parks add a coaster like this.

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by squirrels at 3/7/12 10:05:33 AM
mucciared said:

Jen, did we ride two seperate Mavericks? LOL


When Cedar Point announced Maverick I will admit I was disappointed as it paled in comparison to the coasters they built just a few years prior. However, that all changed when I rode it.

What a great combination of every element - speed, air, inversions, even theming. You can't ask for much more in a rollercoaster. It packs a powerful punch start to finish and the long lines prove Cedar Point made a great investment.

I would be happy to see one of my local parks add a coaster like this.

Maverick isn't that fast on paper. I can see where she's coming from in that regard. It's the PERCEIVED speed you get from the theming and the quick turns. If you're flying in an airplane at 30,000 feet, you're probably going 500MPH, but do you feel like you're "going fast"? Not at all. But get up to about 60 on a windy back-road and you feel like you're REALLY hauling. That's what Maverick is all about. What it does with its low altitude, moderate speed, and lack of dramatic inversions is nothing short of amazing.

Even the inversions add to the sense of speed. I don't see Maverick as being "all about inversions", though. Not by a longshot. It has two inversions, but neither is very dramatic.

People get their thrills in different ways, I suppose. But judging by what GY appreciates in a coaster (height, speed, airtime), I think an inversion in a hyper would just detract from that experience. Think of it this way...suppose they put a loop in the middle of Nitro. Really try to visualize the ride. Would it make it better? Or worse??

I'd lean toward the latter. You're taking a ride with a very distinct identity and adding an element that just seems out-of-place.

Intamin could've put a loop on Maverick easily enough. They didn't for a reason.

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 3/8/12 6:38:26 PM
I guess California Screamin' is a hybrid-type ride. Although not a hyper, it features air time, drops, turns, and speeds. The single loop only adds to the experience, makes a nice diversion half way through the ride, and is not the main element.

- Pat-O

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 3/8/12 9:16:26 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

If you look at the mega loopers of old, especially the Toomer ones, they typically sat on a huge 5-10 acre plot of open space (I'm thinking of the triplets since they were the tallest multi-inversion loopers built.) Even the B&M 7 loopers seem to require a huge open plot of land. Most large parks don't have that kind of open space any more. This is part of the reason why Scream Machine and Shockwave were scrapped rather than moved (besides their other more obvious flaws).


Can a park still build a huge, multi looper coaster? Probably, but let's face it. Looping had its time 30 years ago. If given the choice between a hyper and a looper, most park guests' favorite ride will almost always be the hyper.

Like all things, there will be a time when people start to crave loops again. But not until manufacturers come up with a more comfortable restraint system (no matter how smooth the ride, someone is always going to complain about the OTSR's banging their ears. ALWAYS!!) There are new systems out there, but until they become standard for loopers, we are not going to see any over the current 150- 180 ft range. Really, what is the point of going higher when even a 10 inversion coaster can be built at 150 ft?

Paul


From the looks of it from pictures, the new v shaped softer otsrs that I305 has looks like it wouldn't be too bad. Maybe that type of restraint would do?

As for B&M vs the older Intamin style otsrs: B&M's thicker restraints are better because they really hold a person into place compared to the thinner ones of Intamin where at a sharp turn, you are slammed right into it and thus the unpleasant 'chopping' sensation. Of course B&M's restraints do hurt the ears when your head is tossed around side to side.

* This post was modified at 3/8/12 9:38:34 PM *

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by alpengeistno3 at 3/8/12 11:17:51 PM
Cyclone_Phil said:

From the looks of it from pictures, the new v shaped softer otsrs that I305 has looks like it wouldn't be too bad. Maybe that type of restraint would do?

No question that they work. The question is will they be embraced by other parks? The Premier leg restraints work fine, but haven't been used on a new looper since the ill-fated SOB. The new Vekoma soft restraints have reportedly improved rides on the Great Nor'Easter, but to my knowledge, that is the only SLC to be retrofitted with them. Cheetah Hunt was built the year after I-305 and went back to the hard strapped harnesses, so either Busch didn't get the memo in time or there is a lack of faith in them for a looping coaster either from Intamin or the park. Hershey has gone a different (and better) direction with Skyrush, but that one doesn't loop, so doesn't technically apply here. We'll have to wait and see.

Paul

* This post was modified at 3/8/12 11:23:43 PM *

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 3/9/12 12:39:16 AM
I wonder, is it that much more expensive* to replace those restraints or is it because the new Intamin restraints are soft and that means they won't be so 'durable' as the typical hard plastic types of the older ones?

Good point about Cheetah Hunt, perhaps those restraints might not be meant to 'shoulder' the full weight of a person upside down even if for a few seconds and that is just a single inversion.

*Perhaps KD pressuring Intamin to make changes at Intamin's expense.

* This post was modified at 3/9/12 12:42:56 AM *

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by Great_Ump Great_Ump Profile at 3/9/12 5:03:57 AM
I think it has to do more with what the GP want and what parks dont have.

Most parks have a mega looper. Cedar Fair, with Wonderland being an exception, didn't have the giant steel out and backs that they've been installing for the past couple of years.

SF's coasters have once again gone innovative and ground breaking to a degree.

I think the last real mega looper we saw here in the states was Hard Rock Park's B&M themed to Led Zepplin.

I'm wondering what Holiday World has up their sleeve for the steel coaster they are working on. Will they go for a tamed down version, ala HersheyPark, of a steel coaster that the whole family can ride, that will potentially flip us upside down and be that "first looping coaster" to a whole new generation of riders, OR will they go with an all out intense looper?

I'm guessing the family route myself.

Joe
Great_Ump

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 3/9/12 1:32:45 PM
squirrels said:

Maverick isn't that fast on paper. I can see where she's coming from in that regard. It's the PERCEIVED speed you get from the theming and the quick turns. If you're flying in an airplane at 30,000 feet, you're probably going 500MPH, but do you feel like you're "going fast"? Not at all. But get up to about 60 on a windy back-road and you feel like you're REALLY hauling. That's what Maverick is all about. What it does with its low altitude, moderate speed, and lack of dramatic inversions is nothing short of amazing.

Maverick just doesn't do it for me. I appreciate it more than I did when it first opened but the launches are slow, there is only one real hill and it's short and I get banged around like a rag doll. That is of course if it doesn't break down after I've been waiting on line for an hour to ride it.

People get their thrills in different ways, I suppose. But judging by what GY appreciates in a coaster (height, speed, airtime), I think an inversion in a hyper would just detract from that experience. Think of it this way...suppose they put a loop in the middle of Nitro. Really try to visualize the ride. Would it make it better? Or worse??

I'd lean toward the latter. You're taking a ride with a very distinct identity and adding an element that just seems out-of-place.

That's a good point and I agree with you. Maybe combining the elements isn't that great of an idea after all. They only way I could see it being successful is if you literally had 2 separate coasters where the first half was about hills and speed then the last half was about inversions but that would require a large footprint and not many places have that kind of space.

Jen
Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by frontrow frontrow Profile at 3/9/12 5:06:59 PM
I'm a fan of the Arrow Mega Loopers. I really feel that Scream Machine was a better coaster than Green Lantern. Shockwave at SF Great American was even better because it was smoother. I'm one of the few people that liked The Steel Phantom better than Phantoms Revenge. I can go on and on with my reasoning behind that, but that's for another thread. We still have Kings Island's Vortex, but It's not as good as the 3 mentioned above. I really hope I can make to SFMM before they remove Viper. Viper is one of the reasons that SFMM is my dream vacation. The Mega Arrow Loopers are a dying breed. Coasters are still being built that flip you upside down but, the seating position is changing. What ever the newest fad is, weather It's inverted, floorless, standing, flying, and now wing riders, the concept is still the same. Basically you're flipped upside down several different ways, but the process of sitting down in a coaster in conventional manner has been diminished. Kumba was built in 1993, that's nearly 20 years ago. Don't get me wrong I love all the newer innovations in the loopers that have been built recently and I'm extremely excited about the new wing riders. I just like those old Arrow Mega Loopers also.

* This post was modified at 3/9/12 5:10:50 PM *

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by squirrels at 3/10/12 8:48:16 AM
frontrow said:

I'm a fan of the Arrow Mega Loopers. I really feel that Scream Machine was a better coaster than Green Lantern. Shockwave at SF Great American was even better because it was smoother. I'm one of the few people that liked The Steel Phantom better than Phantoms Revenge. I can go on and on with my reasoning behind that, but that's for another thread. We still have Kings Island's Vortex, but It's not as good as the 3 mentioned above. I really hope I can make to SFMM before they remove Viper. Viper is one of the reasons that SFMM is my dream vacation. The Mega Arrow Loopers are a dying breed. Coasters are still being built that flip you upside down but, the seating position is changing. What ever the newest fad is, weather It's inverted, floorless, standing, flying, and now wing riders, the concept is still the same. Basically you're flipped upside down several different ways, but the process of sitting down in a coaster in conventional manner has been diminished. Kumba was built in 1993, that's nearly 20 years ago. Don't get me wrong I love all the newer innovations in the loopers that have been built recently and I'm extremely excited about the new wing riders. I just like those old Arrow Mega Loopers also.

The Arrow mega-loopers were great coasters in their day. The problem is that over the last couple decades, most of them have really loosened up. GASM, from what I understand (funny acronym BTW), was taken down because it had become downright painful to ride. Anaconda at KD is the same now. I remember loving it in 1997. I rode it last year and I think I sprained my neck.

I don't know if Arrow is even IN the coaster-racket any more.

I think B&M proved that "inverted" is the way to go with loopers. Why? Because with the rider's head closer to the centerline of the track, the rider can tolerate wilder spins, loops, and corkscrews better than in an over-the-track sit-down ride. For the most part anyway.

"Floorless" coasters still count as "sit-down" to me. The lack of a floor is a neat feature, but you're still sitting in the ride.

If you've ridden Fahrenheit at Hersheypark, that's Intamin's spin on the traditional "sit-down inverter"...and I found it impressive. Not a lot for the airtime crowd, but if you want an old Arrow-looper with a modern twist, that'd be it.

I think loops and rolls just got "overplayed" in the 1990s and most parks still have loopers in operation. People want something different. It's not that they ENJOY the loopers any less, but you can't have a park full of JUST them.

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by squirrels at 3/10/12 8:52:56 AM
GoYanks34 said:

squirrels said:


Maverick isn't that fast on paper. I can see where she's coming from in that regard. It's the PERCEIVED speed you get from the theming and the quick turns. If you're flying in an airplane at 30,000 feet, you're probably going 500MPH, but do you feel like you're "going fast"? Not at all. But get up to about 60 on a windy back-road and you feel like you're REALLY hauling. That's what Maverick is all about. What it does with its low altitude, moderate speed, and lack of dramatic inversions is nothing short of amazing.

Maverick just doesn't do it for me. I appreciate it more than I did when it first opened but the launches are slow, there is only one real hill and it's short and I get banged around like a rag doll. That is of course if it doesn't break down after I've been waiting on line for an hour to ride it.

Fair enough. The first "launch" isn't really a "launch" at all...it's essentially a fast hill-lift. They want you to come over the top with some speed so you REALLY feel the "dump" on that past-vertical drop.

A LOT of people complain about getting their ears boxed all to hell on Maverick. For the life of me, I don't know why they don't put the I-305-style belt restraints on it, instead of those hard foam turds. (maybe they don't last as long??)

As for Intamin's reliability...well, you're well-acquainted with Kingda Ka. :p Unfortunately, Maverick suffers from the same kind of shaky reliability. When you're innovating, it's a risk you run, I suppose.

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by frontrow frontrow Profile at 3/10/12 2:02:58 PM
If you've ridden Fahrenheit at Hersheypark, that's Intamin's spin on the traditional "sit-down inverter"...and I found it impressive. Not a lot for the airtime crowd, but if you want an old Arrow-looper with a modern twist, that'd be it.

I have ridden Fahrenheit. My first ride was opening year, 2008, in the back seat. I thought the was really good. This past summer, we returned to Hershey and ran straight for Fahrenheit as the gates opened. We rode front seat. What a great ride. The front seat is a whole different ride experience. Now I would consider Fahrenheit a great ride. Although I still like Storm Runner better, that front seat ride closed the gap a bit. You're right. Fahrenheit does remind me of a traditional sit down looper, with a very unique first hill.

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 3/10/12 5:03:45 PM
frontrow said:

Although I still like Storm Runner better, that front seat ride closed the gap a bit.

I LOVE Storm Runner - front seat is the place to be on that coaster too! It's still my favorite in the park and makes my top 10 list as well.

Jen
Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by squirrels at 3/12/12 9:01:11 AM
GoYanks34 said:

frontrow said:

Although I still like Storm Runner better, that front seat ride closed the gap a bit.

I LOVE Storm Runner - front seat is the place to be on that coaster too! It's still my favorite in the park and makes my top 10 list as well.

Storm Runner is the best half of a roller-coaster in existence, as far as I'm concerned.

It's just over so QUICK. It hits you hard, you get the adrenaline going, and then they hit you with that little snap-turn run like it's about to go into...then it's over. Everyone off.

If the ride finished strong, it would be my favorite coaster, hands-down. :)

Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 3/12/12 9:31:18 PM
squirrels said:

Storm Runner is the best half of a roller-coaster in existence, as far as I'm concerned.

It's just over so QUICK. It hits you hard, you get the adrenaline going, and then they hit you with that little snap-turn run like it's about to go into...then it's over. Everyone off.

If the ride finished strong, it would be my favorite coaster, hands-down. :)

Agreed!!

Jen
Re: Will we see another mega-looper? by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 3/13/12 12:02:53 AM
frontrow said:

I'm a fan of the Arrow Mega Loopers. I really feel that Scream Machine was a better coaster than Green Lantern. Shockwave at SF Great American was even better because it was smoother. I'm one of the few people that liked The Steel Phantom better than Phantoms Revenge. I can go on and on with my reasoning behind that, but that's for another thread. We still have Kings Island's Vortex, but It's not as good as the 3 mentioned above. I really hope I can make to SFMM before they remove Viper. Viper is one of the reasons that SFMM is my dream vacation.

I'm with you, Ken. I love Arrow loopers, too. Vortex is one of my favorite all-time steels, and I love CP corkscrew. I am truly sad I'll never get to experience all the retired Toomer inventions.

I don't want to bash your dreams, but from a fellow Arrow love, Viper SFMM really sucked. Its WAAAAY over braked. Brakes after the 1st loop, killer mid-course, and brakes right before the double corkscrew. As a result, the trains slowly crawls through the elements, and you slam into the OTSRs. Its painful and not fun. You'll have to try it yourself, but don't get your hopes up.

Arrow loopers kind of prove themselves why we don't see more mega-loopers. They hieght and speed on these coasters is unnecessary - the first loop on each is a small-radius loop on stilts, and the MCBR kills all speed produced by the first drop. Since all Arrow inversions are just about the same size and require about the same speed, the height and speed of the first drops are really irrelevant.

- Pat-O