By Rusty Carter, Virginia Gazette
10:11 PM EST, March 1, 2012
JAMES CITY — The technology behind the new Verbolten roller coaster under construction at Busch Gardens is sophisticated.
A linear synchronous motor, or LSM, permits the 16-passenger cars to achieve high speed in a short distance. The same technology is used in roller coasters that top 100 mph.
"It uses exit speed independent of mass," explained Larry Giles, the park's vice president for design and engineering, during a hard hat tour of the ride Thursday.
Bottom line: It goes fast in a very short amount of time.
Verbolten will take riders on twists, turns and drops that riders won't see coming.
That's because they'll be in the dark for much of the ride.
Based on the theme of a car ride through the German countryside, Verbolten takes riders on an unexpected detour into the Black Forest, created in Williamsburg in a huge building behind the Autobahn bumper cars. For about three minutes, riders will experience a lurching, swerving ride, complete with a free-fall indoors and in the dark, at speeds up to 53 mph.
"You won't see that drop coming," Giles mused, "But your inner ear will let you know when you're there."
The ride finishes outdoors with a 90-foot drop over the Rhine River.
"Most rides have peaks of excitement early, then taper off," Giles said. "This one is peak after peak after peak."
Designed by German manufacturer Zierer, Verbolten is constructed over much of the area previously used for Big Bad Wolf, a popular coaster retired in 2010.
The queuing station is the same one used for the former ride. Verbolten is also the most expensive ride ever built at Busch Gardens, though Giles wouldn't reveal the cost.
Giles also promised the ride would open on time, in contrast to the Mach Tower opened in 2011. That ride ran months behind schedule as engineers worked to solve various glitches.
Asked what "on time" meant, Giles said, "late spring." Park spokesman Kevin Crossett, also said, "late spring."
Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Type of Ride: Multi-launch coaster
Special features: Two launches, environmental theme elements sound and light effects, high speed turns, free-fall drop and an 88-foot drop to the water.
Maximum speed: 53 mph
Ride duration: 90 seconds
Seats/train: 5 trains, 16 seats per train
Location: Busch Gardens Oktoberfest Village
Source: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
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