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Friday, June 28, 2019

Flat Ride Feature: Paratrooper and Cliff Hanger

Conneaut Lake Park
Despite how many people call them the "Umbrellas," the Paratrooper is an extremely popular flat ride that has thrilled riders for decades. It can be found in tons of parks across the country; just in Western Pennsylvania alone, for example, you can find Paratroopers at Conneaut Lake, Kennywood, Waldameer, Idlewild, and Delgrosso's!

Waldameer
 Ride Variations
The Paratrooper has always been manufactured exclusively by Frank Hrubetz and Co., but the ride has come in different formats over the years. Earlier models have a Ferris Wheel-like "rim-driven" system, in which all the cars are permanently on an angle, and the whole wheel rotates to individually unload riders. However, this is obviously inefficient, so a hydraulic-driven ride, in which all cars can be loaded at once, is found more often today.
Ride Experience
Riders sit in one of 10 umbrella-like cars, and after securing a simple lap bar, the ride reaches its full height with the method based its model. The cars travel in an inclined circle of sorts, going up and down repeatedly.  On the descent, riders may feel the sensation of diving to the ground. The cars also swing outwards due to centripetal force as they go. This sometimes makes the riders feel as if they can "kick" nearby items, such as trees!
Cliff Hanger
A Cliff Hanger is a hang glider-themed ride that is very similar in format to Paratroopers. Most notably, riders are loaded lying down, which creates a very interesting experience. Manufactured by Darton, Cliff Hangers also have an actual glider "sail" that allows the car to catch some wind and "glide" through the air as they descend to the ground.

2 comments:

Melissa said...

I rode the paratrooper at Kennywood last year. Man, that vehicle can feel really small to a full-size adult at that angle!

Andrew said...

Ha! Living in Pittsburgh, I've ridden the Paratrooper at Kennywood lots of times, but surprisingly had never taken a decent picture of it.