Munich/Bad Wörishofen. The world’s first inverted ride without shoulder restraints. The world’s highest inverted ride. The highest roller coaster being commissioned anywhere in the world in 2004. These are the proud achievements that Sky Wheel can boast. Developed and built by Munich-based MAURER Söhne, this roller coaster is being commissioned at the Allgäu Skyline Park, Bad Wörishofen, in the Autumn 2004 season.
This exciting new ride is based on the innovative MAURER X-Car, the world’s first roller coaster car to allow inverted ride elements without shoulder restraints. Passengers are subjected to negative g forces, secured by no more than a lap strap – freedom with a rush of adrenaline.
The Sky Wheel exploits this new potential to the full, without easing the passengers in gently. Immediately after leaving the station, the X-Car rides up vertically to a height of 46 m where it performs a gut-wrenchingly slow quarter loop – backwards. Inspired by the world of aerobatics, this revolutionary ride figure has been christened the “Humpty Bump Lift”. Subjected to a force of -1 g, the passengers hang upside down at a dizzying height – secured only by a hip restraint.
Vertical lift with reverse loop
From a distance, the Sky Wheel looks like a giant Ferris wheel, but with no hub or spokes. Apart from the panoramic view of the Alps, however, the roller coaster has little in common with the tranquillity of a Ferris wheel. The Humpty Bump is followed instantly by a 360° corkscrew and a plummeting vertical drop at 105 km/h. After swinging spectacularly to and fro, again at impressive heights, the X-Car returns to the station – or, depending on requirements and capacity, launches itself over the summit once more and embarks on another breathtaking ride.
The Sky Wheel can match much bigger coasters for excitement, but has modest floor space requirements and a relatively short track length thanks to its compact design. This all adds up to a highly interesting cost situation. Furthermore, the Sky Wheel is designed in such a way that it can be extended in two further investment steps, thus keeping pace with the expected boost in visitor numbers and adding more kicks. It is clear that the overall installation, standing tall at 50 meters, is also an effective long-range advertising medium.
Innovation produces world records
The Sky Wheel in the Allgäu Skyline Park will be the first X-Car coaster in the world. In the autumn of 2003, Munich-based ride manufacturer and steel construction specialist MAURER Söhne unveiled the X-Car prototype to an interested audience of industry insiders. The innovative six-seater roller coaster car is the culmination of two years of development work on the part of the MAURER Söhne engineers in cooperation with TÜV Süddeutschland (Technical Inspectorate, Southern Germany) and the Institute for Ergonomics at the Technical University of Munich. The concept “car, not train” allows extremely tight ride figures and dispenses with the need for long stretches of track to build up speed. In addition to the highest possible levels of safety and ride comfort, the designers also concentrated – successfully – on producing a first-class design. This is borne out by the collection of international awards they have picked up, including the prestigious “red dot award” from the North Rhine-Westphalian Design Center.
Summary of the superlatives
The following is an overview of the records and innovations of the Sky Wheel at a glance:
- Highest inverted ride in the world (46 m)
- Highest roller coaster being commis-sioned anywhere in the world in 2004
- Highest and fastest track with inverted figures in Germany
- Third highest steel coaster in Germany
- Humpty Bump: vertical lift with slow quarter loop
- 360° corkscrew followed by plummeting drop
- Attraction and thrills in a compact package with potential for expansion