McLaren: Today we had the opportunity to take an even closer look at HangTime’s progress as we inch closer to its opening date. Recently, the last piece of track was put into place, which is totally exciting for most of us, but it is only the beginning as we continue in the process of testing, working out bugs in the system, and adding tedious, yet essential details. While we are still unaware of when exactly the ride will welcome the general public, we were able to have a clearer vision of what this ride has to offer come early this summer.
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After about a year long hiatus, Sky Cabin finally made a return on Knott’s open ride roster. Consequently, I had to take it for a spin with the main goal to see the now completed HangTime before doing anything else. The entrance and exit have actually been rerouted to the other side of the the games in front of it as it is now directly to the right of Boardwalk BBQ’s patio. I did not realize how high Sky Cabin takes you (180′) and the views of the park are absolutely incredible.
3pm rolled around and it was take to take a behind the scenes look at the progression of this new beautiful piece of Gerstlauer engineering. The twisted mess of ocean-teal is so visually appealing to look at from any angle. Again, and huge thank you to Knott’s for this tour.
One of the coolest things they were able to let us do was wander into and throughout the maintenance bays to get up close and personal with these incredible trains. We entered through the back, so this shot here shows the train as far back as they can go in this facility, and it is also the section where the train has the ability to roll off the track and onto the side rails, allowing undisturbed access to all the mechanics.
Here we can see the dual magnetic braking system on the left underside of the train and a single fin on the right, however if you look closely, you’ll notice there seems to be a back of a chain dog(s) and anti-rollback dogs. First, we learned yesterday that this is because the magnetic breaks would actually engage upon the the chain stopping mid lift of even chain failure, allowing the train to gently slide back down the vertical lift and eventually returning to the flat section of track at the base. That would definitely be an interesting thing to experience to say the least!
Second, regarding the chain engagement dog(s), the reason the train lacks this feature in addition to the absence of anti-rollbacks as mentioned above is because the chain itself has that part actually on it. We were informed that that mechanism simply catches the underside of the third, which pushes the first two rows and pull the last one up. I would assume Knott’s went with these features compared to the traditional lift system simply because it would make for less ware and tear in the long run, reducing down time and costly maintenance.
Here we can see the other train that was in the maintenance bay, which was parked directly in front of the one previously shown. The first half of the bay is indeed fitted with regular track, whereas the back half is not, which allows staff to work on and see the trains either on OR off the track. One of the biggest indicators that Knott’s is finally in the fine-tuning state of testing with HangTime is because there is a mixture of the thinner white polyurethane wheels (increasing speed due to less friction) as well as the thicker black urethane wheels, which are intended to slow the train via increased friction less weight, as they have holes between the bearings and outer rim.
Under the first half of the maintenance bay, there’s a massive tool/work bench, which has a wide variety of items to go toward the upkeep and adjustments to the trains as needed. It was so interesting to be able to see the nuts and bolts (literally) that go into this thing. The amount of work and the number of pieces that are required to make rides like this a reality as incredible. Major props to Gerstlauer for designing such complex and reliable machines.
Here is an example of what I mentioned earlier regarding the holes in the black polyurethane wheels. When objects are heavier, they have the ability to go faster due to the fact that they carry more potential and kinetic energy when gravity is thrown into the equation, thus objects that comparatively weigh less, in this case these wheels, will reduce the speed because they don’t posses as much energy. When coasters are designed, the engineers calculate exactly how fast the train should be traveling at every area on the track, however once the trains travel through the layout, variables such as the weather and wind speeds can slightly throw that off; the solution comes from taking control of the amount of friction exerted on the train via different types of wheels. Typically, these wheels are interchanged through the course of testing to allow the staff to get the train to preform exactly how it should.
Personally, I love the theming of this ride as well as the split-complimentary color scheme Knott’s decided to go with. Small touches such as the multi-color headrests that are designed to look like the nose end of surfboards really give this ride an extra boost in the aesthetic department, which is someone I can always appreciate.
Inside the actual construction area, we can see where the que is starting to form; the tubular white posts that run under and in between both sides of the cobra roll are going to be totally covered in shade cloth. I love when lines snake through the actual layout itself on coasters; I think it makes the entire attraction more interesting and gives guests views of the coaster in ways the many do not.
Interesting fact: The state of California requires that any improvement or construction of an area that’s 5,000 square feet or over must allow rain water/drainage to run back into the earth rather than a different offsite area such as city runoff or sewer. This is why under HangTime, you can see that there is river rock that leads to an on-site drainage system. This water, due to the fact the California regularly struggles with a lack of water, is put back into the earth in an effort to aid the droughts. I have a lot of respect for Knott’s as they enthusiastically comply with California’s strict regulations, and they still
manage to bring us in insanely awesome and ground breaking attractions regardless of these factors.
When this shot was taken, Jeff (HangTime project manager) received a phone call that allegedly gave him clearance to commence some test runs during the day for the first time. Shortly after him getting off of the phone, he instructed us to “look up.” I heard a sound that was similar to your typical electric motor and chain lift, but it was not one that I has heard at Knott’s in the past; this time, it was HangTime beginning to crawl up the lift hill. I was absolutely ecstatic.
Once the train has crested the lift, it drags over the top slowly and then begins its signature “HangTime” move. The entire process is going to bring about an insane amount of excitement and nervousness, as the anticipation of the ride is pushed even further as Gerstlaurer created yet another incredible holding drop.
Once the magnetic breaks decide that it’s game over, the trains allow gravity to take over and yank you down a brutal and airtime inducing 96 degree drop into a twisted mess of track. The gradual slide after the lift is very quiet, with almost no loud sounds whatsoever
Once the breaks allow gravity to take over the experience, that’s all that stands between you and the top speed of the ride is basic physics. If you’re sitting in the back (and you’ll have to see this in real life to really get the idea), you can expect to get a solid jerk into negative G’s as the train has nothing holding it back, compared to rides such as DareDevil Dive at Six Flags over Georgia, where there’s breaks that ease up on the initial portion of the drop. On HangTime, they just left you plummet into the drop, which I think is a beautiful thing
After completing the drop, the coaster then swoops into its non-inverting loop up to the right and then diving back down to the left. From what I saw, the train seems to glide pretty gracefully through the top of this element, giving riders a brief moment of transition before entering back into the chaotic layout. Here in this shot, you can see that the entire train is fitted with water filled test dummies, and there are no surfboard-themed headrests attached at the moment.
Here is the other side of of the top of the first element. While the train may appear to pass through this area a little more slowly than we would prefer, the track does switch from banking to the right back to the left in an aggressive manor, which probably does give a nice little transition before picking up speed again
Once the non-inverting loop is over, the train then enters into a solid and well-paced Immelmam. The train hauls up, and then curls over to the right which leads into a massive and tightly wound corkscrew. This train in particular is one of three the HangTime has: there’s a white one (pictured below), a blue one, and an orange one. All of these colors together definitely make for a retro 90’s surfer theme that the 2018 crowds are going to absolutely love. I also love the fact that in bold and stylish font, “HangTime” is displayed on the front of each train.
As seen here, or maybe not to the untrained eye, the first two cars are actually the standard Euro Fighter car design which do not pivot at all. Jeff mentioned that even he was not fully aware of this until recently. On most coasters, there is a lateral and horizontal pivot to allow a full range of motion between each car, but on this one, the first two rows will be in the exact same position at all times as they are firmly attached to each other. Essentially, rows three and four are trailers that can indeed move independently as per your typical train setup.
Between the fairly new Boardwalk BBQ restaurant in combination with the fully assembled HangTime in the background, this entire area is looking fantastic with its retro surfer color scheme and consistent theming. I thought Boardwalk BBQ looked great on its own, but with the addition of a massive Gerslauer Infinisty Coaster, it seems very complete. The high season of 2018 for Knott’s is looking amazing thus far.
Behind the scenes, Knott’s so graciously had on display one of the first rows of a train for the purpose of getting a solid look at the aesthetics of the new ride. The only thing that was missing was the bottom of the seats, which of course will be added later upon opening. Like I said earlier, I absolutely love the theme and choice of colors here, and especially the fact that the headrests mimic the shape and style of multi-colored , classic surfboards.
I also think its rad that this coaster is fitted with lapbars only; the concept of a “dive coaster” without having OTSRs is awesome. Just think about what its going to feel like dangling over the edge of a 150′ drop with full mobility and no restraint of your torso… now THAT is going to be awesome. Gerstlauer has moved into a type of train for their Infinity Coaster that’s just as secure yet allows more of a free feeling. Kudos.
Here is a shot of the track that leads into/out of the maintenance bay. On the right, the downward sloped track is the final brake-run, to which you will fly into after the cobra roll and then take right U-turn back into the station. Let’s talk about what’s the left side of the photo though… keep reading
This is the skeleton of the ride’s station; all we have so far are the basics, including the adjacent loading platforms as well as the controls for testing purposes. The purple, red, and orange colors developing in the background however are going to play a critical roll in HangTime’s theming. Essentially, it is going to be a mural of a classic southern Californian sunset, that fades into ocean waves toward the left. I think this is going to be an awesome touch as it’ll really set a nice looking background to an already thoroughly put together ride. For those that don’t know, this wall is actually the back of Mine Ride; Knott’s making use of another ride to seamlessly tie together attractions is genius. Mine ride is a western/goldmine themed ride, while HangTime is a beach/surf themed ride, and you would never really allow those two to directly collide, however they hang found a way to effectively do this and its beautiful.
“Streamline” architecture played a significant role in the structural design and aesthetic of this ride. It will have an influence of long horizontal lines, smooth curves and corners, and somewhat and art-deco vibe to it. This is perfect as it ties into the whole boardwalk them Knott’s is pushing for in this area of the park. The story behind the station, gift shop, and ride photo purchasing area is as follows: a surfer has been making hand made surfboards and selling them as a small business based out of his own home, however, due to the rising popularity and income from his boards, he was then able to set up his own shop to accommodate a heavier amount of customers, thus the station/gift shop of HangTime was born.
As we wrap up this update on HangTime, let’s admire this glorious moment of speed and airtime following the over banked curve. This pop of weightless then throws you down towards the ground before shooting you back up into the cobra roll to finish out the vicious layout. A huge thank you again to Knott’s for allowing us to get up close and personal with this beautiful new Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster, and we’re totally looking forward to this summer when they finally unleash it to the general public. Stay tuned to for more updates regarding this coaster and pay even closer attention for when the opening date is announced. Surfs up, readers!
Thank you for checking out this exclusive backstage tour report of HangTime at Knott’s Berry Farm! We just went to Orlando, and while we create some awesome Florida coverage for you please make sure to check out these recent updates:
- Six Flags Magic Mountain Update – January 19th
- Six Flags Magic Mountain CraZanity Construction Tour
- Knott’s Berry Farm and HangTime Update
- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Six Flags Magic Mountain to be Solar Powered
- SeaWorld San Diego – A look at Lunar New Year
- Electric Eel Construction Update – SeaWorld San Diego