Sirk TV Print Interview: ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONSTRUCTION [IAAPA 2017 – Orlando, Florida]
Finding the balance of new possibilities for rolelr coasters is always a challenge. Rocky Mountain Construction always seeks to stay ahead of the curve. With coasters like the I-Box steel deisgn of Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain and the new Lightning Rod wood Topper Track design at Dollywood, enhancing and improving the experience is the name of the game. Currenly one of their new coasters being build is Twisted Cyclone, another I-Box steel design being constructed at Six Flags Over Georgia. Designer Alan Schilke and Owner Fred Grubb spoke to Sirk TV at the IAAPA [International Association Of Amusement Parks & Attractions] Expo in Orlando, Florida about challenges, design and the ideas behind their new coaster.
Can you talk about the idea of pushing the boundaries of how far the human body can be pushed in terms of fabrication, and what sort of challenges lie within that?
Alan Schilke: The biggest difference I think and why we’re able to push it [has to do] when a coaster’s rough, okay? [If it is just] rattly rough then there’s only so much more the body can take beyond that… but what we’ve been able to do is get rid of that rattly-rough part of it. And so the more you take away from the rattly, the more [you can do] in terms of the real twist, and how you can push it. And still, keep the body safe and keep everybody happy.
Sirk TV: Can you talk about the idea of what this coaster you announced here does especially, with the first drop and then sort of inverting it. What does that take to build?
AS: It’s the structure. Every time you do an inversion, you’ve got a lot of structure to worry about. [This coaster] was built for Floater Hills originally and so we’re taking something completely different to it. What I like to do is I’d still want to push the limits of the human body. I don’t really want to limit myself by what the structure is, so I push the limits of the human body first. [Thereby] we just have to fix the structure and upgrade it, and put more wood in it, more steel in it until it can support everything that we’ve just thrown at it.
STV: Can you talk about that as well? The materials and all that?
Fred Grab: Well, what we do is we build this box as being a track which allows us to get the track actually right. What Allan designs – when it comes out of our shop – it is what is designed. So [as a result] with the other tracks you have to get it close but you can’t get it just perfect like that. Our method in which we build this, we’re able to get to that point. That’s the difference and that’s why it’s smooth.
STV Why this exact riding car? Why this design? How does it work into the idea of the ride?
AS: There’s a lot of things that are important about the car that again make us do the extreme inversions. The restraint systems is one of them. The articulation of the car is another. Everything’s been designed…
STV: Is that what it looks like with the new restraints?
AS: As opposed to having an over the shoulder restraint that matches your head around?
AS: We’ve got a lap bar only so we’re able to do a lot of things with twists that if you had a different kind of restraint you wouldn’t be able to…you’d be hurting people. So we’ve thought about all of that with the design of the car, the restraint, and everything, so we can push the limit of everybody everywhere on the track.
STV: Can you talk about being able to manufacture these tracks, what is possible, and how quick it’s possible? Because you want to make sure it’s done right, but you also have deadlines.
FG: Well, we’re only going to manufacture a track so fast because there is an element to where– there’s a lot of set-up, a lot of detail, a lot of inspection. A tremendous amount of inspection. It takes a large area, a large shop and a lot of wealth, so that being said, we probably go through about a million pounds of steel every five weeks. And you have to make sure the size [is right]…you can’t have a mistake. A coaster’s only as good as it’s weakest points, so we just can’t have a weak point.
By Tim Wassberg
Posted on November 17, 2017, in Entertainment Industry Coverage and tagged IAAPA, Orlando, Rocky Mountain Construction, Rollercoasters, Sirk TV, Theme Parks, tim wassberg. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.