The vast majority of coasters do more than just go up and down, don’t they? Lateral g-forces describe those feelings of being pushed side to side. There are many times when you may experience lateral g-forces in tandems with negative and positive g’s. Lateral g’s may push you to the edge of a bench seat, or they may cause a notorious “headbanging” effect.
Strong lateral g’s are experienced on flat turns, such as the winding layouts of wild mouse models such as the defunct Primeval Whirl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These severe laterals can be uncomfortable, however, which is why most turns are banked. Banked turns, rather than flat turns, tilt the track in the direction of travel. This lessens the lateral g’s while making for smoother transitions in rides. For some real lateral g’s, check out an outer-banked turn, which tilts the track away from the area of travel.
The Underrated Tower of Terror
Want to ride on the most forceful roller coaster in the world? To do that, you’ll have to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Gold Reef City’s infamous Tower of Terror (no, not that Tower of Terror). This ride looks simple at first, resembling dive coasters such as Oblivion at Alton Towers and Valravn at Cedar Point. Tower of Terror, however, was not manufactured by Bolliger and Mabillard, the “gold standard” of dive coasters. Bolliger and Mabillard dive coasters are known for their smooth, sweeping elements and floaty drops, not exactly for their intensity. But Tower of Tower, built into a real gold mine, sends riders down a twisted vertical drop and into a tunnel that buries all possible light. To add to the intimidating aesthetics of this ride, at the bottom of the first and only drop, riders will experience not 4, not 5, not even 6, but 6.3 g’s. That means you are experiencing over 6 times your body weight momentarily on this attraction.
Have you recognized these forces in your own riding? If so, which type of force do you prefer?