Seven years after construction began, an engineering marvel of a "throwback" may be opening soon. Knoebel's family amusement park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania began construction on its Flying Turns roller coaster in 2006. The first trains equipped with test dummies made their way through the course in 2007. And now, the ride is still in a constant state of testing and adjusting, yet to open to the public even this many years later.
When Flying Turns does finally open, it will be the only coaster of its kind in the world, though it's a recreation of a style of ride once very popular and prevalent in amusement parks. The ride is a bobsled roller coaster - for a duration of its run, it is not attached to a track, but rather is freely careening down a rounded trough. By their nature, bobsled style coasters provide slightly different experiences each time, as differing weight in the cars allows them to ride higher or lower against the tube's banked turns and travel at different speeds.
A limited number of bobsled coasters continue to operate across the world, but all are of the newer steel variety (Cedar Point's bobsled coaster, which had moved indoors in 1989 and was named Disaster Transport, was demolished in 2012; sister park Kings Dominion continues to operate Avalanche). Knoebel's Flying Turns will be made entirely of wood and required a new process of construction, testing, and adjusting that has been laborious and much more long-winded than imagined when the project began, apparently requiring restructuring of the track, new fleets of trains, and more.
Still, testing continues to bring this historic ride to life in a reverent and accurate way. Rumors had earlier suggested that the ride would open on Labor Day weekend of 2013. When that failed to occur, Screamscape reported that the ride may indeed still open in 2013 during the park's annual Phoenix Phall Phunfest event. In the meantime, the park released a point-of-view (POV) video of the ride's course.
You can track the progress of Knoebel's Flying Turns and other new attractions on our New Attraction Watch page. Of course, we hope Knoebel's gets their historic attraction open soon, as it's a tremendous project that's involved a lot of work and a lot of heart.