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Arthur Levine

You Can't Believe this Coaster

By June 30, 2005

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Innovations in technology and design have allowed thrill machines such as Six Flag's Kingda Ka to reach previously unheard of heights and speeds. And category-busters like Universal Studios' two Revenge of the Mummy attractions combine launched coasters with highly immersive and sophisticated dark ride experiences. So, what's next?

The folks at Cantilevered Coaster Systems believe they may have the answer. Using a dual-track configuration and a cantilevered arm connecting a train to both tracks, the designers can create a wild range of new attraction possibilities. By hiding the track system from passengers, the ride could appear to defy logic as it careens in unexpected ways. As a dark ride, high-speed trains could "fly" to uncharted planets, zoom along water, and soar up and over mountains. Even without themeing and without hiding the track system, a cantilevered coaster could amp up the thrills by convincing riders they are hell-bent on crashing into a support beam or are doomed to fly off the edge of a track.

To date, neither the company nor any parks have announced any new projects that would incorporate a cantilevered coaster system. But the concept is mighty intriguing, and the allure is compelling. I'll keep you posted if I hear about anything.

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