- Kingda Ka
Infobox roller coaster
name = Kingda Ka
caption = Looking at Kingda Ka from launch track
location = Six Flags Great Adventure
coordinates = coord|40|08|23|N|74|26|5|W|region:US-NJ_type:landmark|display=inline,title
section = The Golden Kingdom
type = Steel
type2 = Launched
opened = Start date|2005|05|21
status = Open
manufacturer = Intamin AG
lift = Hydraulic launch
colors = Green and Light Blue
cost = $25,000,000 USD
capacity = 1400
length_ft = 3118
height_ft = 456
inversions = 0
drop_ft = 418
speed_mph = 128
duration = 50 seconds
gforce = approx. 4-5
angles to pay = 90
acceleration_mph = 128
acceleration_in = 3.5
restriction = 54
rcdb_number = 2832
"Kingda Ka" is a
roller coasterlocated at Six Flags Great Adventurein Jackson Township, New Jersey, USA. At its opening on May 21, 2005, it became the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world, claiming the title from Top Thrill Dragsterat Cedar Point. The train is launched by a hydraulic launch mechanism to 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds. [cite web |url= http://www.sixflags.com/greatAdventure/rides/Kingdaka.aspx |title= Kingda Ka: Great Adventure |publisher= Six Flags|accessdate=2007-08-22] At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main top hat tower reaching a height of 456 feet (139.5 m). [cite web |url=http://www.rcdb.com/id2832.htm |title=Kingda Ka (Six Flags Great Adventure) |accessdate=2007-08-22] Due to aviation safety concerns, the tower is equipped with three dual strobes: 2 mid-way up, and one on the top.
"Kingda Ka" was officially announced on
September 29, 2004, at an event held for the media and enthusiasts. [cite web |url=http://www.thrillnetwork.com/stories_view.php/662 |title=Kingda Ka: The Media Event |date= October 12, 2004|accessdate=2007-09-01] It was revealed that the ride would become "the tallest and fastest roller coaster on earth", reaching convert|456|ft|m|0 high and accelerating up to convert|128|mi/h|km/h|0 in 3.5 seconds. [cite web |url=http://www.rcdb.com/document132.htm |title=Six Flags Great Adventure will launch the tallest, fastest roller coaster on earth |date= September 29, 2004]
January 13, 2005, Kingda Ka was topped off at its convert|456|ft|m|adj=on height, finishing construction. [cite web |url=http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/sixflags/20958/ |title= Six Flags Makes History as it Completes the Tallest, Fastest Roller Coaster on Earth's 45-story Tower |date= January 14, 2005|accessdate=2008-03-30] Over four months later, Kingda Ka opened to the public, media day being two days before, on May 19.
Kingda Ka was originally supposed to open on Saturday,
April 23, 2005, but on April 18, 2005, Six Flagsannounced that Kingda Ka's opening would be delayed; media day would have been on April 21. [cite web |url=http://www.thrillnetwork.com/stories_view.php/975/opening_kingda_ka_delayed.html |title=Opening of Kingda Ka delayed |date= April 20, 2008|accessdate=2008-03-30] Before Kingda Ka was built, Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragsterwas the tallest and fastest roller coaster on the planet.
During a test run with no passengers on
June 8, 2005, a bolt failure caused damage to the launch cable resulting in closure of the ride until August 2005, and the reconfiguration of the line area.
June 6, 2005, less than a month after its grand opening, a bolt failure caused the liner inside the trough that the launch cable travels through to come loose and create frictionagainst the cable. The friction caused the train not to accelerateto the correct speed. The rubbing of the cable against the inside of the metal trough caused sparks and shards of metal to fly out from the bottom of the train. The engine, as it is designed, attempted to compensate by applying more forceto the cable to attain the 128 mph (206 km/h) launch speed.
brakefins—metal fins attached to the underside of some roller coaster cars that slide between brakes mounted to the track [ [http://www.geocities.com/RollerCoasterTalk/definitions.html#L Roller Coaster Talk: Definitions of Commonly Used Terms ] ] —rise up into the braking position on a timing pattern, independent of the launching mechanism. The fins are mounted in steel supports that are connected to actuatorsthat raise and lower the fins into the desired position. There are four braking zones, and each zone has about 24 individual brake fins. The fins actually caught up to the launching train as the timing pattern of the rising fins was faster than the accelerating train. The magnetic brakes began to slow the train in the launch area, and the engine tried to compensate even more, and dragged the train through the brake zones. The catch car released, but the train was still in the brake zone and came to a complete stop at the bottom of the hill.
This malfunction occurred when no passengers were aboard during a test run. No injuries or deaths occurred. Damage occurred to the launch cable (frayed and needed to be replaced), engine (minor routine damage to seals), and brake fins (many needed to be replaced). The brake fins in the launch section are mounted in such a way to keep fast moving trains from moving backwards into the station, but a fast moving train being pulled forwards caused an unexpected stress on a number of fins that bent them forward. Not all of the fins needed to be replaced, but there were more damaged brake fins than Six Flags had replacements, and extra brake fins had to be specially ordered from Intamin. In addition, Kingda Ka had to be re-inspected. Kingda Ka started testing on
July 21, 2005. It reopened on August 4, 2005, with the line modified so that it no longer ran under the launch track. The dark blue train was being launched when the malfunction occurred. It was used for the rest of the season, but major problems requiring replacement parts were discovered when the train was inspected during the off-season. Consequently, this train remained disassembled throughout the 2006 season.
After the train has been locked and checked, it slowly advances out of the station to the launch area. The train goes through a switch track which allows 4 trains on two tracks to load simultaneously. Once the train is in position, the hydraulic launch mechanism rockets the train from 0 to 128 miles per hour (0 to 206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds, [cite web |url= http://www.sixflags.com/greatAdventure/rides/Kingdaka.aspx |title= Kingda Ka: Great Adventure |publisher=
Six Flags|accessdate=2007-08-22] pulling about 1.67 "g". At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main tower, or top hat, twisting 90 degrees to the left before reaching a height of convert|456|ft|m. [cite web |url=http://www.rcdb.com/id2832.htm |title=Kingda Ka (Six Flags Great Adventure) |accessdate=2007-08-22] The train then descends convert|418|ft|m straight down through a 270-degree spiral. Finally, the train climbs the second hill of convert|128|ft|m, producing a moment of weightlessness before being smoothly brought to a stop by the magnetic brakes. The train then makes a U-turn and enters the station. The ride lasts 28 seconds from the start of the launch to the end of the brake run, but has an "official" ride time of 50.6 seconds.
The hydraulic launch motor is capable of producing 20,800
horsepower(15.5 MW) peak. Due to the high speed and open nature of the trains, this ride will not operate in light rain, as rider contact with rain drops can cause discomfort.cite web |url=http://themeparks.about.com/od/sixflagsarticles/a/KingdaMalfuncti.htm |title=Kingda Ka malfunction- Why Six Flags Great Adventure's roller coaster is not operating |accessdate=2007-08-22 |last=Levine |first=Arthur |publisher= About.com]
Rollbacks and launch
Sometimes, it is possible for a train to roll back—to fail to reach the top of the tower and descend. The train instead reaches as high on the tower as it can go (in most cases to the very top), and rolls back. Kingda Ka includes retractable brakes on its
launch trackthat will bring a train rolling backwards down the tower to a stop. Rollbacks are more common in breezy weather, or just after wet weather. Many riders look forward to a rollback.
It is hard to know exactly when Kingda Ka's launch will occur. When the signal to launch is given, the train rolls back slightly to engage the catch car, then the brakes on the launch track retract. Most times there will be a voice that says "arms down, head back and hold on". The launch will occur five seconds after the "hiss" of the brakes retracting or the warning voice. Previously, Kingda Ka's horn sounded before every launch, but it has been turned off because of noise complaints from nearby residents. The horn now sounds only when Kingda Ka first launches after being idle for a certain period of time. Kingda Ka's launch mechanism is capable of launching a train every 45 seconds resulting in a capacity of 1000 guests per hour.
Kingda Ka features two
on-ride cameras. One is placed shortly after the beginning of the launch, the other is at the end of the brake run, resulting in "before" and "after" photographs. Since both cameras are located on the right side of the track, riders intending to purchase their on-ride photo are advised to sit in the right-hand seat.
Kingda Ka's station has two parallel tracks with switch tracks at the entrance and exit. Each of the station's tracks accommodates two trains, so that each of the four trains has its own station. Each train only loads and unloads at its own station; it does not go to any others. During operation, the trains on one side are loaded while the trains on the other side are launched. This system works extremely efficiently as long as all four trains are running and there are no significant delays in loading and checking the trains. This system was not used at all in 2006 because only two trains were working that year. It also results in a very fast-moving
linebefore the station, but a long wait inside the station, especially if waiting for the front row. An employee directs riders in line to go to a particular side of the station, but riders will then be able to choose the front or rear of the train. Two operators load, check and dispatch each train, and one launches the trains. Kingda Ka's music is by Safri Duo, their entire Episode II album is played in the queue and station.
Kingda Ka's four trains are color coded for easy identification: green, dark blue, light blue (commonly called teal) and orange. These four colors are also used on the seats and restraints. Kingda Ka's trains seat 18 people, with two per row. The rear car has one row, while the rest have two. The rear row of each car is positioned higher than its front row for better visibility. The trains do not have official names, only numbers.
The dark blue train was being launched when 2005's major malfunction (see above) occurred, and problems stemming from this malfunction were discovered in the train's off-season rehab, putting this train out of service throughout the 2006 season. As a result, Kingda Ka only ran two trains for the whole year. The teal and green trains ran from the start of the season until late July, and the teal and orange trains ran for the rest of the season. Kingda Ka opened for the 2007 season with all four trains running. [ [http://gadvupdates.com/forums/index.php?page=55 Off-Season Tour & Wiggles World 3-1-07 ] ]
Each of Kingda Ka's trains has a [http://amusementpics.com/KK/051705-358.jpgpanel] behind the last row of seats that covers an extra row of seat mounts. These panels could be removed for the installation of additional seats at some future time. This modification would increase the capacity of each train to from 18 to 20 guests and the hourly capacity of the coaster from 1400 to 1600 guests per hour. Kingda Ka's station is already set up for this modification; it has the entrance gates for the currently nonexistent row of seats.
While this modification has not yet been done, the trains were slightly modified for the 2006 season - the nose of each train got a new coat of paint, after which the large "Kingda Ka" logo and the train number decals were not put back on the trains. The non-padded portions of the restraints are now bare metal rather than painted orange.
Kingda Ka's over-the-shoulder restraint system consists of a thick, rigid lap bar and two thin, flexible over-the-shoulder restraints. Because the over-the-shoulder portions of the restraint are not rigid, the hand grips are mounted to the lap bar. This type of restraint feels like a lap bar restraint, while still providing the safety of a traditional over-the-shoulder restraint.
These restraints use a
hydrauliclocking system (rather than a ratchet) which allows them to be pulled down to any position; when "locked", they can move down to any position but not up. In contrast, a ratchet-based restraint only locks at each "notch", and will often be too loose or uncomfortably tight. Kingda Ka's restraints are also held down by a belt in case the main locking system fails. In order to speed up loading, riders are asked to secure their own restraints if they are able to. The minimum height restriction is convert|54|in|cm|0, the same as most other major coasters. In addition, it is actually possible for a rider to be "too tall" to ride Kingda Ka - if you are tall enough that your head is entirely above the seat, you would not be able to ride as the launch could give you whiplash.
Kingda Ka's line starts well before the actual entrance arch. The line passes by an ice cream stand, then goes under the entrance arch. It then enters a long switchback area, where a DJ is sometimes present to entertain the guests in the line. After the switchback area, the line passes by the lockers and then into the station. At this point, an employee will direct guests to a particular side of the station. Each train's station has a separate line for the front row.
Before 2005's major malfunction, Kingda Ka's line area was much larger. It started at the main entrance arch, went under the launch track, traveled through two large switchback areas, and split into separate lines for each side of the station. Most of the entire line used to be set in the ride's infield. Due to the parts that came flying from the launch track during its first malfunction, the park (Six Flags Great Adventure) or state (New Jersey) perhaps both, felt it would be safer to have guests stay as far away from the track as possible at all times. The current main entrance to the station was previously the "flash pass" entrance.
Awards and records
* [http://www.sixflags.com/greatadventure/rides/KingdaKa.aspx Kingda Ka: SixFlags.com]
* [http://amusementpics.com/Kingda%20Ka.htm Kingda Ka Page on AmusementPics.com]
* [http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/themeparks/new05/kingdaka/ Kingda Ka Preview Article]
* [http://www.amusementvideo.com/view_video.php?viewkey=1b6b7a7d29490fe5ec9f&page=1&viewtype=&category=mr kingda ka Point-of-view video]
* [http://eastcoastcoasters.com/videogk.htm East Coast Coasters]
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