Cedar Point's planned new attraction for the 2011 season has been revealed as a Mondial Wind Seeker swing ride - by a rival manufacturer that plans to sue the park.
According to the Sandusky Register, Funtime says that Mondial's ride infringes upon a patent it has filed for its own StarFlyer attraction. Both models see riders swinging around a central tower, though Mondial's version uses hinged steel arms to hold the ride seats rather than the chains employed by the Funtime ride. Cedar Point's Wind Seeker is set to be called StratoSoar when it opens next year.
Funtime, based in Australia, alleges that Cedar Point was close to a deal to purchase a StarFlyer before opting for the ride from its Dutch rival instead. Director Brian Mirfin says that executives from the park visited Orlando's Magical Midway to view an existing StarFlyer attraction in action several months ago, and Funtime now plans to sue the park over the alleged patent infringement.
The StarFlyer is an established attraction, with 22 installed at amusement parks worldwide. These include a towering 384-feet-tall version at Prater Park in Vienna, which is shown in the video below. Mirfin claims that Funtime was in talks to provide an even taller version for Cedar Point - standing at some 400 feet.
Mondial's Wind Seeker, meanwhile, is a more recent model that was only announced in February. At the time, the company said it had been designed to meet the needs of parks that were demanding a "tall swing ride" that could be operated in normal wind conditions - something which it claims is achieved by using the steel arms in place of more flexible chains.
Funtime claims on its website that it has filed a patent on the design of the StarFlyer, although it is yet to be granted. For its part, Mondial also claims to have applied for a patent on the Wind Seeker design. However, the attorney who filed FunTime's patent, Tony Handal, says that he believes that Mondial's design clearly infringes on Funtime's, saying "I think Cedar Point will not go forward without a license."
In May, Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel confirmed that the company had already ordered a new thrill ride for Cedar Point for the 2011 season. However, the park has so far refused to be drawn on the type of ride that is to be installed. It now faces the unusual situation of having a major addition revealed by an agitated would-be supplier instead of its own public relations department.
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