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Can there be too much thrill in a coaster?

Thorpe Park: Can a coaster be too thrilling to be safe? Thorpe Park's newest, The Swarm, may be pushing the thrill level towards a dangerous one.

From Amanda Jenkins
Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:48 PM
When are the thrills too much for roller coasters? I was reading about the tests on Thorpe Park's newest winged coaster, The Swarm . When test dummies are coming back missing limbs and stunt pilots are uneasy, it makes me pause and wonder if we (as a society) have become so desynthesized that we now have engineers pushing the laws of physics to help us have a three minute thrill.

Now don't get me wrong. I too love to get the adrenaline high, but I also want to be able to walk away from the attraction. Am I reading too much into this?

Here is the link from the article I read.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/winged-roller-coaster-swarm-rips-arms-off-crash-183513325.html


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:00 PM
This article has been
around for more than a month, and the general consensus is that this was simply yet another PR stunt by Thorpe, a park known for this type of antic. All in good fun..no such thing as BAD publicity. I understand it has since tested with human beings. I severely doubt that would have happened so soon if Swarm was as dummy-dangerous as it was made out to be.

This "incident" was already noted on TPI back when it actually "happened" in late January.

From Amanda Jenkins
Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:02 PM
Sorry Everyone: I only saw the article recently and was shocked. I have had multiple surgeries that have left me out of the loop for the past three months and sadly away from theme parks. I apologize for wasting everyone's time on the discussion board with this thread. I will make sure to double check next time before posting.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted March 4, 2012 at 5:06 AM
No apology was necessary, Amanda. It was posted on other sites too, because Yahoo had only then picked up the story. I demand you take that apology back!!! :)

From James Koehl
Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:41 AM
I agree, Amanda. We get inundated with so much info that we either start accepting that everything we read must be true, or become so jaded that we doubt anything we read. It's tough to find the middle ground sometimes. That's why it's good to have forums like this to come in and have friends help sort out the grains of truth from the chaff of junk (wow, was that profound! ;=)

I assume that you're doing better now (I kind of inferred that, since you're back in here). Any chance you're going to enter TPA4? I remember your work in TPA1 and was VERY impressed with it. Tim is planning on some really fun (and challenging) competitions for the next one. Sign-up is this May. Please consider it!

From Andy Milito
Posted March 4, 2012 at 9:22 AM
I remember my dad showing this to me the other day. I don't really see anything wrong with too much thrill, but it might get out of hand at some point.

From Jeff Elliott
Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:39 AM
So here is the picture.

Photobucket

If you look carefully, in the second row and further back are actually roller coaster test dummies. The first row looks like mannequins from a fashion store.....

From Rob P
Posted March 4, 2012 at 11:05 AM
No matter that I posted the story about this a few weeks ago. Amanda's new post shows that this is still topical.
I didn't answer my own question before so it gives me the opportunity now to say that negative reports on a ride's safety, if genuine, would definitely make me consider if it was worth it. I don't need a buzz that badly.

From steve lee
Posted March 4, 2012 at 11:53 AM
For the record, this is the second time the park has released it as a story. It's not the same as the first go-round (wasn't the first story more about how the trains came too close to thematic areas?), but it's pretty similar. I guess the story didn't pop as much as they wanted it to, so they rewrote it and sent it back out...

From Mike Gallagher
Posted March 4, 2012 at 12:02 PM
That picture just reinforces my opinion formed in January when I first saw it:

Coolest. Coaster. Train. Ever.

From James Koehl
Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:02 PM
Interesting how the two outside front dept. store mannequins were damaged in almost exactly the same manner. Was there any sort of mention in the article as to where these "amputations" occured on the ride? I would be much more prone to believe the story and picture if they had used crash-test dummies with sensors to show what sort of stresses were put on them to cause this, if the damaged was indeed caused by the ride and not by a PR man, and what if anything on the ride caused this. Did they hit something, or was it a physical stress thing? I would have more confidence in "Mythbusters" and their testing of it than the PR dept. on this.

From James Rao
Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM
Dollywood's version of this coaster, Wild Eagle, which is longer, higher, and faster than Swarm and X-Flight, only has a 50" height requirement instead of 54". Could be the lack of a fifth inversion accounts for the difference, or it could be that these B&M Wing Riders are simply not going to be the push-the-limits thrill rides Thorpe Park would have you believe. Sure, they will be fun, but death defying? I doubt it.

Think of Thorpe Park as a Politician and only believe every fifth word. Then plead the Fifth on that belief!!!

From Amanda Jenkins
Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:31 PM
Thank you gentlemen for your understanding. I will have one more surgery Friday (hopefully my last). I am still in shock over how many surgeries I have had to have. I did the math the other day and found that I have had to have 24 surgeries in nine years. I have been blessed beyond belief that the tumors have not been the result of cancer and to have a husband who loves me so much that he tries to get me to Disney World during the "well" times. God has answered many prayers.

Other than that, I will hopefully be able to join in on more discussions and would love to have another go with the theme park challenges. I had so much fun planning and also reading everyone else's ideas. I have to say that you all amaze me with your intellect and amazing imaginations.

From James Rao
Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM
Amanda, you are a stalwart and beloved member of the TPI ranks, and I wish you the very best in your speedy recovery. Tell your husband he is a good man, and that if we ever meet at the Magic Kingdom, the Dole Whips are on me!

From Andy Milito
Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:50 PM
Oh wow....no wonder they lost their arms and legs...

From James Rao
Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM
I wonder if B&M appreciates this kind of publicity stunt? Seems to me they wouldn't want their coasters labeled as "dangerous".

From Derek Potter
Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM
I don't think they care too much as long as the money and the business keeps rolling in. Fans of Thorpe Park are likely on to their PR stunt work by now.

It's actually kind of fun to see those old school showman techniques are still around. If Thorpe really wanted to get nuts, they could take a page out of the old Crystal Beach Cyclone and have a nurse and a first aid station on the unloading deck.

From James Rao
Posted March 7, 2012 at 4:32 AM
Future Thorpe Park slogans:

"Thorpe Park: Extreme Rides That Are Extremely Dangerous!"

or

"At Thorpe Park we offer you DEATH - the ultimate high!"

or

"Come to Thorpe park, our rides can KILL YOU!"

Pathetic.

From Caroline Davis
Posted March 7, 2012 at 5:16 AM
I thought they did that already with Saw: The Ride.

I can't hate them for their little publicity stunts, because everybody can tell they are not real. Hardly anybody ever talks about them anyway. Last year it was some Ouija board story in relation to Storm Surge.

I'll be riding on opening day, so I will definitely listen to the advice "Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle".

From Mike Gallagher
Posted March 7, 2012 at 5:29 AM
Caroline said, "..I will definitely listen to the advice "Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle".

But if you do that, the terrorists (AKA Thorpe) win.

Seriously, when is opening day? Be sure to give us a report, and not only on Swarm. I read stuff occasionally about Thorpe, but it's usually stuff like this. I'd love to read an actual trip report.

From Caroline Davis
Posted March 7, 2012 at 5:41 AM
Next Thursday, just bought tickets this morning.

Sounds like a good idea to do a trip report. Keep me from getting bored on my own.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted March 7, 2012 at 10:16 AM
You're on your own?
Can I come with? ;)

From James Rao
Posted March 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Please don't get me started on SAW: THE RIDE... who makes a ride based on torture porn? Seriously?! What's next, Human Centipede III: The Interactive Dining Adventure????

Sickos.

Have fun Caroline, but please express your displeasure at Thorpe's classless subject matter choices whenever possible.

From James Trexen
Posted March 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Mr. Rao, I agree. When I first heard of SAW the ride, I was wondering who exactly came up with that one. But, I guess Disney and Universal have taken all the good franchises.

From Jeff Elliott
Posted March 8, 2012 at 3:45 PM
To tell the truth.....it really doesn't look that extreme. The part right before the first drop seems very unique.....but other than that it just seems fun.

Here are some videos:

What do you think?

From James Rao
Posted March 8, 2012 at 7:04 PM
Typical Thorpe: much ado about "meh".

Honestly, it looks like a fine coaster. Nothing worth traveling overseas to visit, but a nice addition.

Question: what happened to the much ballyhooed theming? The place looks barren. Mud and dirt? I think I prefer pavement. Thorpe has a lot of work to do if they are going to beautify the surrounding area!

From N B
Posted March 8, 2012 at 8:24 PM
I thought the same thing. The coaster looks battleship grey, the sky is grey, and the ground is dirt. All we are missing is some Russian marching music and a KGB logo.

From Rob P
Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:58 AM
NB , have you ever thought about a job with the UK tourist board ?
You make us sound so interesting and colourful.

From Caroline Davis
Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:41 AM
The first drop is what got me interested too! English coasters often aren't the most thrilling on statistics, but we've got a few that are more creative than similar designs in other countries. I hope this follows that vein.

The theme is the apocalypse. So it shouldn't look "beautiful". From pictures I've seen a lot of theming, broken airplane wings and church spires. Thorpe Park has never tried to look beautiful, it would be pretty difficult in that location. It's never going to look like BGW! It's next to the M25! Not all of England is picturesque countryside.

As a single coaster, it isn't worth travelling overseas for. But there's not one SINGLE coaster in the world that would sway me to travel to the US. I've been four times on coaster trips in the past 2 years, all in the US, and never for just one roller coaster. Never just for the theme parks either.

Also, as a whole, the collection of coasters at Thorpe Park is brilliant. It has a nice variety of thrill levels for different riders.

On the point of Saw. I'm sure there's enough room for ONE horror themed coaster on the planet, even if there are people who don't enjoy it. The coaster part of the ride is one of the most fun coasters I have ever been on, and the level of theming in the queue is exemplary, especially in the UK. Hopefully, it might kick some of the other English parks into gear so they create more immersive experiences.

And for the record. I love the Saw movies, although they are controversial they're thought provoking. Most people who dismiss them haven't seen them, or are just the type of person who unfairly judges people who enjoy horror films. I don't see the same assumptions being made on people who enjoy detective dramas, though the same morbid/psychological themes are throughout that genre too.

From James Rao
Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I have no issue with rides based on horror films, but rides based torture porn are a different story. Furthermore, I did watch the first four SAW movies, and they all sucked. Big time. Why did I keep watching? Because I thought the villain, Jigsaw, was a great idea. Unfortunately, he was tragically underused and underdeveloped in the films as the writers and directors opted for extreme violence, torture, mutilation, and sadism instead of clever storylines, unique scares, and mysterious narratives.

Thankfully, audiences have grown weary of the Saw series as indicated by the abysmal box office performance of the last two films. Mercifully, no more Saw movies are planned. Yay!

Anyway, I am glad you enjoy the park, I just wish Thorpe had picked a better film series on which to base its "scary" coaster.

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