Again, success. Kitchen sold that second company and formed US Thrill Rides
whose products include the PolerCoaster (one was just approved in Orlando, Florida)
where riders blast up to the top of a tower,
machinecaused fatalities then careen ‘coaster-style’ wildly down the outside. A sky shot and rollercoaster in one.
A PolerCoaster was planned for the Tropicana Las Vegas but the casino has changed hands several times (as it is wont to do)
putting the project on hold.
In the meantime, Kitchen has found a way of combining the physical thrill of a rollercoaster with the mental one of roulette:
the UniCoaster Roulette-Style,
currently being developed for casinos. We caught up with him at his Florida headquarters.
What elements make for a good thrill ride?
We have a philosophy. Number one, it has to be safe.
machinecaused fatalities We never want to hurt anybody and although probably around 50 million people have ridden the rides I’ve invented,
there’s never been any machinecaused fatalities or even serious injuries.
Secondly, it must be fun and provide an experience
instead of the same old thing people have been riding for a hundred years. Even the rollercoaster’s gotten bigger,
faster and higher. The UniCoaster is a completely new concept because it’s an interactive ride.
What makes this so brilliant is that you’re sitting on a seat which is part of the axis of a large wheel.
As the wheel spins, the riders themselves can control the action.
There’s a handle between the two riders that both can grip,
and they can choose whether to flip forwards or backwards and how fast. The harder you press the handle, the faster it will flip in either direction.
In fact, it occurred during the early testing when a guy and his girlfriend.
began to have a disagreement on how fast this thing would flip.
They gripped the handles so hard and fought over it so much they actually broke the handle.
So we had to go back and redesign the handle so it would be peopleproof when they’re fighting over the control.
That’s part of the fun, by the way.
One person says, ‘Let’s flip,’ and the other says, ‘No, no. No more.’ And the other one says,
‘OK, let’s flip backwards.’ Is your typical rider more concerned with speed, inversion or something new? Absolute speed is always part of it.
People have made rollercoasters now that exceed 80 miles an hour. But they have to be very large. They cost tens of millions
of dollars. What really creates the most fun is the changing of speed and direction and G-loads,
and the UniCoaster provides all of that at a much slower speed.
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