News Project 2020: Orion

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Oct 7, 2011
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And occasionally one goes the other way too... like Magnum, which is over 200' tall but does not actually have a 200' drop.
 
Oct 7, 2011
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Yes, it’s considered the seminal hyper, though Moonsault Scramble (shuttle coaster presaging the age of the boomerang style ride) was built six years earlier and was 230’ tall, considerably taller than Magnum. So it’s more accurate to say Magnum was the first full circuit hyper. It certainly was the first hyper to capture the public imagination, even if it doesn’t have a 200’ drop. These things get more approximate and fuzzy the closer you look.

Moonsault Scramble doesn’t get adequate credit by virtue of being a shuttle ride, IMO. That type of ride was looked down on a bit more then than its lineal descendants are now, when it came to stats and labels; Wicked Twister is considered a hyper these days, as I’ve pointed out in the past with mixed emotions, and Intamin’s Superman style ride systems in CA and AUS got credit for being the first coasters to 400’. This despite the fact that these reverse-point shuttles carry most or literally all of their passengers to far lower altitudes than the peaks of their respective trackworks would suggest. Moonsault didn’t get the same 1980s attention and was kind of a victim of its time in a few ways: “hyper coaster” wasn’t yet a term when it was built, Japan was not getting much international coverage for big amusement rides, there was no commercial internet, and enthusiast groups were few, young, and small, with less media pull to serve as clearing houses for factual stats about distant and obscure rides. Really just a completely different time. Also, it seemed from sparsely available accounts to be a very uncomfortable ride. Maybe that was a factor.

Still, it deserved more credit for being first to cross 200’. Except for the Maunch Chunk Railway, I suppose, which as a literal mine train was not only the first coaster style ride in the US but also still the largest ever with 660+ feet of elevation change.

(Orion.)
 
Feb 14, 2019
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Who wouldn't like to ride a literal runaway train with only hand brakes and no restraints? Sounds like a good time...

Otherwise, I think it's that the definitions are based on ride height and not the actual drops per the Magnum example. But according to RCDB Orion actually has the 300 foot drop required for giga status.
 
Oct 7, 2011
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And Steel Phantom is called a hyper despite being way short of that based purely on lift height (160'). Apollo's Chariot isn't a hyper if we drop a measuring tape from the top of the lift (170'). But they are both definitely considered members of the club. Elevation change seems to be the primary qualifier.

The definition as it's actually applied seems maximally inclusive: max(lift height, largest drop elevation change) >= 200 ft, with only the number changing to 300 for giga if that situation ever were to arise (e.g. 301' lift, 299' drop).

But that case where the drop doesn't quite qualify seems a bit chintzy, doesn't it?

IMO the open secret with the notion of a "hyper" is that with the elevation change of the drop seemingly being the more powerful qualifier, Magnum is nonetheless allowed membership because it's "close enough" by virtue of pure lift height, and was associated with the beginning of the term "hypercoaster" -- when there was a lot of excitement specifically over ride height, less scrutiny was paid to differences between height and drop, and folks were absolutely motivated on all sides to say "look, we're finally over 200 feet!" with the new nomenclature to match. And with that legacy as part of the hobby and industry, people can't possibly imagine defining Magnum out of the club. So it remains in. A brand new ride with Magnum's height and drop stats might get a different reception, at least until the first direct comparison to grandpa Magnum inevitably arises.

There are lots of other details to nitpick if we want to get deeper, like the fact that Magnum (along with many other rides) is basically on stilts through its entire run, making the actual vertical height change of the lift less than 200' from base to crown. That may or may not matter to one's own strict and not-universally-agreed-upon definition of a hyper coaster (currently it seems nobody cares), even though applying that standard would mean Magnum has neither a 200' lift from base to crown nor a 200' drop. But that's new-thread territory, assuming I haven't already gotten to that point with all this.

I don't think we have an analogous situation with the giga club... 300'+ lift with <300' drop. Millennium force and I305 juuuuuuuust barely achieve a 300' elevation change on their first drop, and unless I'm mistaken, that's the closest we get.

Are there any other gigas besides Orion that qualify based on drop but not lift height? I think Orion is the only one... so far.
 
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Mar 16, 2016
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And Steel Phantom is called a hyper despite being way short of that based purely on lift height (160'). Apollo's Chariot isn't a hyper if we drop a measuring tape from the top of the lift (170'). But they are both definitely considered members of the club. Elevation change seems to be the primary qualifier.

The definition as it's actually applied seems maximally inclusive: max(lift height, largest drop elevation change) >= 200 ft, with only the number changing to 300 for giga if that situation ever were to arise (e.g. 301' lift, 299' drop).

But that case where the drop doesn't quite qualify seems a bit chintzy, doesn't it?

IMO the open secret with the notion of a "hyper" is that with the elevation change of the drop seemingly being the more powerful qualifier, Magnum is nonetheless allowed membership because it's "close enough" by virtue of pure lift height, and was associated with the beginning of the term "hypercoaster" -- when there was a lot of excitement specifically over ride height, less scrutiny was paid to differences between height and drop, and folks were absolutely motivated on all sides to say "look, we're finally over 200 feet!" with the new nomenclature to match. And with that legacy as part of the hobby and industry, people can't possibly imagine defining Magnum out of the club. So it remains in. A brand new ride with Magnum's height and drop stats might get a different reception, at least until the first direct comparison to grandpa Magnum inevitably arises.

There are lots of other details to nitpick if we want to get deeper, like the fact that Magnum (along with many other rides) is basically on stilts through its entire run, making the actual vertical height change of the lift less than 200' from base to crown. That may or may not matter to one's own strict and not-universally-agreed-upon definition of a hyper coaster (currently it seems nobody cares), even though applying that standard would mean Magnum has neither a 200' lift from base to crown nor a 200' drop. But that's new-thread territory, assuming I haven't already gotten to that point with all this.

I don't think we have an analogous situation with the giga club... 300'+ lift with <300' drop. Millennium force and I305 juuuuuuuust barely achieve a 300' elevation change on their first drop, and unless I'm mistaken, that's the closest we get.

Are there any other gigas besides Orion that qualify based on drop but not lift height? I think Orion is the only one... so far.
Not Giga but a strange one to think of:
Skyrush is a hyper. But height of lift is higher over elevation than the lift or the drop. Then the drop is further than the lift. And the lift is the “shortest” part. How does this happen? Peak height is based on spring creek, then the bottom of the drop is lower than the station.
 
Oct 7, 2011
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That crossed my mind as I typed about Magnum: one of the first objects "discovered" in the hyper solar system, yet possibly due for demotion to dwarf hyper someday.

I'd like to observe out loud that hyper-, giga-, and strata- are lame prefixes for amusement rides. Takes a bit of the urgency out of getting the definitions just right.

Orion is blue.
 
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