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Everything posted by DrachenfireOP

  1. My old answer for many years was riding on the train at BGW past the old Drachen Fire site, especially for the four years it was SBNO. I finally got over that and they went and ripped out the Wolf, my first ever coaster and one I worked on! Verbolten is a great ride, but I would have rather seen them put it elsewhere and kept the wolf too
  2. I don't think they're failed per say, more like out of fashion and to a point dated. In the time standups were most popular, rough coasters were the norm, not by choice, but simply because it's what we had. You never got on a coaster before the mid 90s with the expectation of smoothness. I remember going on rides like Shockwave at KD, Anaconda, Drachen Fire etc. in the early 90s and talking to friends about "how to ride" and "where to brace" as just normal riding conversations, and I wasn't even an enthusiast at that point. When you compare some of these older rides with rides of the computer age, obviously the computer designed rides are smoother, in many ways I believe to a fault. Some of the more recent B&M coasters are a bit of a snore fest in my opinion, especially comparing it to some of the first gen B&Ms. However, stand ups have a few problems depending on who you ask. - Some think they are rough, which may be true by shear design, or may be related to the fact that most of them were built during the rough era of coasters, while the "smooth" standups are still a decade and a half old. Something tells me that if someone built a 2015 stanup, it wouldn't hurt, but that's just speculation. - Some men complain about the, err, issue. I've experienced this only one time personally, and it was because my seat was a bit too high. I've just made sure since to bend my knees a bit until the harness is locked and then the problem is solved. - They are slow loaders. This is the only problem I think that can be universally agreed on. I rode Mantis for the first and only time in 2011 and absolutely loved it! I never really found it too rough, and really enjoyed the forces on it from a stand up position. I think the fact that I'm rather tall helps with this. That said, it was the longest wait of the day. The park was dead, and a lot of older rides were walk ons (including magnum, iron dragon, all of the wooden coasters, and even TTD/Millennium force were under 20 minute waits) but Mantis was almost 40 minutes because of how slow it loaded. Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing some new age stand ups, but I think they would need a few improvements in order to sell: - A design change to prevent some of the old pain problems, and I think this could be a relatively easy fix with modern computers. - Duel load station. - Something really innovative or gimmicky to draw attention away from the negative vibe stand ups have with enthusiasts. (Honestly I never find the GP hates on stand-ups, certainly not to the extent enthusiasts do.)
  3. This is especially true of the grease on the wheel carriage, which is why I'm shocked to learn Verbolten can operate lower than B&Ms (if it can). They actually tested Drachen Fire with heaters on the lift and block brakes, because it was a particularly cold winter/early spring, and if the trains stopped there, they were worried about it not getting back moving again (and I would strongly speculate is why a lot of coasters open a bit later in the season, with testing starting when the weather is a bit warmer, but that is just speculation). One of my more interesting memories from way back when I was a ride op was shutting down Big Bad Wolf because it was too cold. It warmed back up a bit later in the evening (Virginia for you) and we got a go ahead to re-open the ride, but when we started cycling trains, a train out on the safety brakes wouldn't move. We basically ended up staying closed for the rest of the night with one train stuck out on the safety brakes and one train stuck out on lift 2, and there was nothing anyone could do about it until the weather warmed up enough to get the train moving again.
  4. I do find it strange also that Verbolten can operate in lower temperatures than the B&Ms. Do you happen to know the minimum temp for it? If it's the same, then they probably only keep it open to avoid the hassel of having more than one coaster open, and Verbolten is accessible to the most riders, and is certainly the most family friendly. I actually went to CT the year Alpengeist was running, and it was pretty fun riding Alpengeist in December!
  5. If there's one thing I've learned, it's not to make predictions anymore! I always thought Intimin would have a constant corner on the giga market, because the concept of a chain lift on a giga seemed absurd, and people didn't seem too fond of it on Dragon. I thought B&M would never get into that game, and yet now they are and they're kicking total ass! Also, parks that had a Hyper are getting gigas with the same freakin trains! I never thought that would happen. I can see CP trying to find a way to break 500 at some point. They broke 200, 300, and 400, and I think it would be an ego blow for them if they don't break 500 first (and SOMEONE will). However, I have a feeling it will be something we don't necessarily see coming, and might have a very non-traditional delivery because of space. Also, quick side note back to stand ups, does being tall make them not suck? I'm 6' 4" and I've never had problems on stand ups. I actually really liked Mantis, and the only reason I'm not super bummed to see it go is because I know everyone else hates it, and I bet it's a cool layout as floorless. If they were scrapping it entirely I'd be pissed. Honestly though, my first standup was Shockwave at KD, and I've been on several standups around the country and in Canada, and never minded one. Then again, I don't get headaches on Arrow coasters either, which I again think is because I'm tall enough my head is well beyond the harness. The only coaster that gives me a headache really is Meanstreak, which delivers a headache from the vibrations more than anything.
  6. I don't think that's an inappropriate amount of time to wait at all. It's the knee jerk "I'm going to sue your ass!" people that I question. Lawsuits are long, involved, expensive, and taxing emotionally/physically for all parties. In order to go up against an organization as large as BGW, you're going to want to make sure: 1) You actually need to. 2) You can afford to and/or your case is strong enough that multiple legal experts agree and/or you can get one to work pro bono. 3) The damages you have warrant the effort, since your name is going to be tied to public statements like this one. Unless something really obvious happened like getting a foot cut off, you're probably going to want to wait and see how things affect your life.
  7. ^ My honest guess? Simply because they can. They announced Griffon around August, because it was VERY obvious at that point what was happening, as the construction schedule had track coming in. There was no way to hide that track coming into the park from the train/Alpengeist short of closing those attractions. The same was true for Verbolten thanks to Mach Tower, so they announced it in September. However, this ride is going to go up so fast, they don't need to start moving track in to the site yet. It looks like they've only just started pouring footers, which are going to need to sit for a LONG time before track comes in. The park frequently puts up a construction wall and says nothing about it. They have a long history of not doing a press release until it's very obvious, so if they can keep track out of the view of the GP, they probably will stay tight lipped about everything. To the coaster nerd community, this seems obvious that it's a premier launch coaster, but to the GP? It's just a construction fence that could be anything, and without following coaster forums, I'm not sure my first guess when looking at that fence would be roller coaster, since the footprint is so small, and it's sitting literally right next to AC. Also, I'm wondering if BGW fans got the name right with their leak, and BGW is re-branding the ride just to spite them for leaking since they are exclusively calling it Tempesto on the BGWfans site with full confidence.
  8. Oh that's sad to hear, I've never had bad trappers, maybe I'm just lucky.
  9. And at least one of your meals needs to be a Trappers Smoke House, it's over by Griffon! All of the parks food is very good and worth having (unlike many parks), but if you only eat one meal there, make sure it's at Trappers! Every country has different food, including some replications of food from the country in question, though mostly American or Americanized food. Since people don't always talk about the food, here's some options (though I haven't been this season, so hopefully this info is still accurate): England has Burgers/fries/pizza etc, and sometimes a few other things like fajitas. They also have a candy shop and generic concessions stands. Scotland has a little restaurant with a few sandwhich options but mostly fried foods like chicken fingers and corn dogs. Ireland has some REALLY good food that people often overlook, including very nice soups served in a bread bowl. Italy has classic american-Italian food like spaghetti, ziti, lasagna, etc. France has this nifty Bistro, but it's a bit more expensive than the other dining. New France has Montreal style smoked meats, like beef ribs, brisket, and chicken, but unlike Montreal, they include BBQ sauce! This is my personal favorite Germany has Das Festhaus, which unfortunately doesn't have some of the great German cuisine it used to anymore, but still has great options, and also American options like pizza. There's also carts out and about with giant pretzels, turkey legs, etc, and also several places to get icecream/funnel cake. Oh, and beer is EVERYWHERE! Like most parks, the food is a bit pricey, but unlike most parks, it's high quality and delicious!
  10. Nail on the head! Because of the terrain at BGW, the sound carries really well. It's not during the day that noise is the issue, but BGW starts cycling its coasters very early in the morning (sometimes as early as 4-5am) as part of their maintenance inspections. It would be an issue for anyone in the neighboring homes which are actually fairly close to the park, but add to the fact that it's a wealthy community with lots of political influence, and that Busch does everything in their power to be a good neighbor, and I'm afraid a good woody starts to be a lot less likely. It's a shame though, a low-to-the-ground that dips out over the rhine river wooden coaster would be a GREAT addition to the park. I'm still an optimist for one! A lot of the things that were previously ruled out by the community, like a drop tower, have found their way into the park in recent years, so who knows!
  11. ^ Agreed, I'm trying not to judge them as harshly as I did when I heard the news until after I've been on the ride myself. If the lines move faster than the slow crawl I fear, and it's fun, I don't mind the addition. I really would love to see a return to the "terrain hugging" rides that are truly unique, but the park doesn't have enough space to really do that without taking something else out. The spots people always cite to add a coaster will almost certainly never be used because they already serve another purpose, or are too close to nearby housing developments. Also I really like the Wild Maus. It got a lot of hate in its final years because the manufacture of the ride raised the height requirement after an accident elsewhere in the world. Suddenly kids would be tall enough to ride wolf and LNM, but no the Wild Maus, and parents lost their minds over it. It's a shame all around, but at least they gave it a fresh start somewhere that people didn't realize the height requirement used to be lower.
  12. BGWfans isn't BGW, and they get a tremendous amount wrong. Their "history of Drachen Fire" is laughably incorrect in just about every way (including being a large spreader of the "designed by B&M rumor" that is completely untrue). They are the root of a very large number of incorrect rumors, take wild rumors that aren't theirs and spread them like wildfire as fact, and in one bizarre case, took what should have been a good rumor for them and "debunked it" even though it's true (they claim that the grounds worker that died in 93' after being struck by BBW was just a rumor, even though you can actually find digital copies of the news reports online). It is very possible Tempesto is the name and that they have accurate leaked information. It's also possible that it's one of the cover names Busch registers for their coasters to throw people off (Griffon was registered as "Le Phenix" until very shortly before it was officially announced). It's also possible it was going to be the name, and Busch will change it. I won't be shocked at all to learn it really is named Tempesto, but I also won't consider it "confirmed" until it's on their site.
  13. How is the name confirmed? It's not on their site, their facebook, or their twitter. It very well might be the name (I still hope not), but I wouldn't consider it confirmed until their website/press release say so.
  14. ^ the leak was smoke and mirrors! It's a giga that stretches all the way from festa to DF and back! No but seriously though, I'd love to see something back on the DF site. I really think the roughness did more to close DF than the location! It'd be a great spot for a Maverick like coaster! Look at me, the 2015 coaster isn't even up yet and I'm talking about the next one!
  15. I'm surprised that I didn't see mention of B&M lap harness hyper coasters like AC and Nitro in here! AFAIK, those are some of the most unforgiving, because thick thighs, wide hips, a big stomach etc. will all independently not let the harness come down enough. Once the harness is "parallel" to the floor, it's unsafe given the seat design so the computer won't let it go out. In fact, I was denied AC once many moons ago and that was part of what tipped me off to lose weight. I've seen more people denied AC than any other coaster, and on my only trip to SFGA I saw two different people denied Nitro. It doesn't help that unlike other B&M's, there's no "big boy seat" option. Also, ^ Someone not fitting in Vortex must need to be a really big dude! I've worked as an op on three different Arrow coasters, including LNM at BGW which uses the same trains, and I've seen some REALLY big guys/gals manage to get in! In fact, Alpengeist/AC used to send denied riders to wolf/LNM with a skip the line voucher if they waited in line and got denied. People not fitting in the big boy seat of Alpengeist never had any problem at all with LNM. I was saw a guy going out of the station wearing the harness as a necklace, but it locked, and it didn't violate Arrow's guidelines, so out he went! Drachenfire didn't have the most forgiving trains, but I don't recall ever seeing anyone not fit in it (though many people, even very fit people complained about how the trains were designed to cram everyone in like sardines).
  16. I think this speaks volumes to the state of the coaster world to where it is today. I think in 1987 more people viewed coasters as "something to conquer," so while you might complain of a headache when you got off, you weren't put off by it because "what do you expect? It was a roller coaster!" I also think a lot of the hate Mr. Toomer gets about his coat hanger (which wasn't a coat hanger by the way, it was no. 2 wire!) comes from people spoiled by the computer-designed age. I'm noticing more and more that people viewing coasters as "a thing to conquer" less and less, even in the GP. I'm not bashing the computer design age, it's AWESOME, but I also don't think it's fair to compare apples to oranges the way people compare an Arrow from the 80s to an Intamin of 2012. I don't get on an Arrow expecting a smooth, fun ride. I expect to do battle with it, and that's half the fun! Of course I understand that I am in the minority, and it will ultimately lead to the end of these old coasters, but from an enthusiast standpoint, I like to know what I'm getting on will do more than just lift me up high and go fast! I chuckle just as hard when people complain about old B&M coasters like Raptor or Batman. To me, that was when B&M was doing it right. I've been on a few newer B&M's recently that were so smooth, and the loops so large, that they weren't really very thrilling at all. I miss tight loops plastering me to the seat, and unexpected turns!
  17. I'm probably the exact inverse of most people here in that I have only been on Steel Phantom. I was VERY young when I rode it, so I don't really remember it, but I do remember telling everyone I know the second drop was the best! I also remember it giving my sister a headache, but I was too young to be hurt by it. Even today I don't mind Arrows though (maybe might height is an advantage?) The only coaster that is too rough for me is Mean Streak. I hope to get back out to Kennywood though. I don't think I've been since '92.
  18. ^ Oh Good addition! I have some pictures of that nest somewhere. I always wondered what happened to that eagle when they tore the coaster down. The nest was still there in 2000.
  19. It's BS. Busch typically doesn't tell 99% of their employees anything they don't tell the GP. The people actually in the know are the same ones who have been in the know all along. In fact, I have a friend who works there currently and was told they'll announce it on twitter and facebook and are encouraging team members to look there for "exciting updates" to what they are calling the "Fest Italia Development Project." Never-mind the fact that we've all seen pictures of the track online at this point, they're keeping it close to the chest. Also, I really hope that's not the real name. It probably is, but it's a terrible name :/
  20. Drachen Fire was Ron Toomer 100% through and through, but received heavy guidance from the former director of planning at BGW. The B&M rumor started online around 2004-2005 when someone noticed that if you looked at DF from a certain angle, it sorta resembled Kumba a bit, and that the supports are more streamlined that Arrow. They took that concept, and ran wild with it to the point that even that horrendously misinformed Wikipedia article on the ride claims it was B&M. I personally have asked Larry Giles, Ron Toomer, and Claude Mabillard about this on three separate occasions, and all claimed it is 100% false. I am also not the only person who has done this. Also, the supports really are nothing at all like B&M supports, and are fairly one of a kind to just this ride. Now some fun trivia about Drachen Fire you might not know! - The first concept Toomer presented to Busch was a HUGE footprint, and would have been very similar to Shockwave/GASM in layout. Busch rejected it and asked for something more compact and streamlined. In the Nova special where they show the design/construction process of the ride, you can allegedly see Ron Toomer penciling out the initial concept design. - The trains were designed in tandem with members of BGW R&D, as were the support structures. Drachen Fire's trains had tracer lights on them at Busch's request (and by the way, LNM also used to have them for a brief time in the 80s!) The two other arrow coasters built with the DF style trains ditched the lights after a bit because they were VERY problematic, but Busch kept them the whole way since it was their brainchild. The lights ran on an independent battery system inside the cars, and if I recall (granted it was 20 years ago), they were low CC motorcycle batteries. - I learned from what I would consider a very reliable source that there was an error with the surveying in the early design process of the ride. Since it happened before any production started, the ride was mirrored as it was considered easier than re-surveying the land. One of the easiest things to point out about this is that the evac stairs/harness release pedals are on the wrong side. On almost every Arrow, it's on the left side, but on DF it was on the right as a result of this change. - Apparently in the the non-mirrored run, the lift would have gone closer to the Wolf village and the wrap around corckscrew would have dove down by the Wolf's mid course brake run. Also, the Wolf village was re-done during DF construction to be full buildings, where as before they were just facades. - The grand opening was a grand flop. The ride's computer had a fault that took days to solve, so all the footage you see on various specials of people lining up to ride was actually of them waiting for nothing. Comedian Dana Carvey came out to help open the ride, and rumor has it he agreed to do it for free as long as he got to be the first public rider, but they never got it working before he had to leave. I always wonder if he ever made it back out to ride. He is apparently a huge coaster enthusiast. - Drachen Fire had traditional Arrow rollbacks for the 92' season, but the lift chain was much faster than most arrows. During testing they weren't satisfied with the speed the train was navigating the first corkscrew and up'd the speed, making the classic Arrow rollbacks even louder. It apparently was waking people up in neighboring houses when they did early morning testing, so starting in 93 they had a one-of-a-kind silent rollback on the trains. It basically stayed in the up position unless the train started to roll back, at which point gravity pulled it down and locked it into place. - When DF originally closed, the plan was to modify the trains. However after deciding the track was the bigger culprit to the problem they decided to sell it. - More than one park offered to buy DF, but no one was willing to pay the asking price ($4.5 million, for a used ride that cost $4million to build...) - DF almost re-opened for the 2002 season. In 2001 they actually did a full track inspection, green tagged a train, and even loaded it up with load testers to cycle for a while. But when they put more advanced g-force testers in it, it was outside the realm of acceptability in the lateral G area. - The fact that the ride bashed people around ultimately was only a part of the closing equation. Something people often forget is that when a ride bashes you around, it also bashes itself around. The maintenance cost on DF was probably massive, which BGW probably wouldn't like even if it had high ridership, which in it's current state, it did not. - I'm told by a friend that was working that day that someone got hurt on the last day of operation which is why there's such an obscure mid-July last day for this ride. It's a real shame. I loved that ride. If I ever win the lottery, I'm donating a replica to BGW that is modernized and has heart-lined track and better entrances to the inversions so it can live on! ...(if only).
  21. I love Arrows, and grew up on them! BGW was my home park growing up, so I learned to ride coasters on them. BBW was my first coaster, then the next year I took on LNM and Drachenfire in the same day! I was also a ride op for some time, and after working on a variety of different rides/coasters, there was just nothing like standing at the controls for a good Arrow. I have a soft spot in my heart for the custom looper and the suspended coaster, so I'd say my top 3 are: 1. Vortex (King's Island) 2. The Bat (aka Flight Deck aka Top Gun, King's Island) 3. Loch Ness Monster (BGW) Defunct Arrows I miss greatly are: 1. Drachen Fire 2. Big Bad Wolf 3. Great American Scream Machine (back off haters!) Also, since we're talking about Arrow's and everyone loves LNM/misses BBW/Drachenfire, here's some rare pictures of those coasters! Loch Ness Trains version 1.0 being built for the first time in 1978. Construction photo from early 1978. Some things of note: 1) The lake is dry. 2) The track is all one piece. They welded it on site rather than build section by section the way they do now. 3) The maintenance catwalks aren't installed yet. Keep those catwalks in mind when we get to Drachenfire! Some supervisors and park employees in a publicity shoot from 1978. Another publicity photo from 1978. Man, those harnesses sure have changed over the years! These used to let you have a wide range of motion, but the reach envelope for LNM is actually really tight. For safety they re-designed the harnesses later to force you to keep your hands inside the car once they could no longer count on a GP that would follow the rules 100% of the time. Next time you're on this ride, notice how insanely close the trains pass to some of the supports! LNM on a 1978 Brochure for "The Old Country." Notice how young some of the trees are that are full grown now! Big Bad Wolf before the second drop trims swung you way past 90 degrees! It was very self destructive on the ride and a bit of a neck jerk, so they added the trims to the second drop. Here's the livery the wolf wore for most of the 80s starting in 1985, and of course, this was back when they sprayed water at you going through the turns after the second lift drop! Very hard to see, but if you look closely, this is the only image I have ever found of the 1984 "wolf head" livery that sat on the front of the train for only one season. Drachen Fire under Construction. A nice high-quality photo of Drachen Fire taken by a local newspaper in 1996. Ever notice those catwalks along all the BGW arrows? Here's a rare shot of some maintenance workers inspecting the track of Drachen Fire!
  22. I've said this in this thread already, but just to re-iterate, it sadly will not be this unless they change the track itself. Everything from the Rhine River Trestle to the Caribou station is a steady uphill grade, and the engines they use are not powerful enough to make it up the grade without a running start. If the train has to make an emergency stop anywhere between the trestle and the station, they always try to get it moving, but most of the time they actually have to back the train up to the trestel to get a running start. If they wanted to add a station there, it would involve it intentionally stopping the train in a place they avoid stopping it at all costs. If they change the grading of the track, it would mean making it an even steeper grade either before or after the station, and only exaggerate an existing problem. It's a shame because it would be a really good place for a station if they wanted to expand there.
  23. ^ Do you think the Drachen Fire site construction might be a more permanent stage setup, or possibly more outdoor dining intended for public use? Or does it look more like a ride? I haven't been yet this season.
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