Many, including myself and designer Alan Schilke, liked the middle seats the most for a couple of reasons.
...X is now at the halfway mark and with so much non-stop gymnastics, designer Alan Schilke felt it would be a good time to allow riders to get their equilibrium back by seeing the horizon and knowing once again what is up and what is down.
designed what he
calls the ‘Luge Turn'.
Most of all, we should thank Alan Schilke
, the Arrow engineer whose creative talents brought us a bold new ride that could not have come at a better time.
Few steel roller coasters bear the signature of one designer in quite the same way as X. Conceived by one of Arrow Dynamics' long time engineers, Alan Schilke
, it took years before his
radical coaster idea was taken seriously enough to make into reality. An Indiana native who graduated from Perdue University with a degree in structural engineering, Alan's early exposure to coasters was at his home park of Kings Island (Cincinnati, Ohio) where he became intrigued with such unusual design traits as the tilted section of trick track on the Togo stand-up coaster King Cobra.His
first exposure to the amusement industry was in the early 90's as a structural consultant to Arrow on such rides as Anaconda, Steel Phantom, Drachen Fire, Desperado and The Big One.In the mid 90's he finally joined Arrow as an employee, working on the Big Dipper at Sydney, Australia's now defunct Luna Park (now operating as the Cyclone at Dreamworld).
A few years later Fiesta Texas's Road Runner Express opened, the first coaster for which he
contributed to the layout design.In 1999, Alan
started to reveal his
flair for coaster design when Dollywood (Nashville, Tennessee) opened the Tennessee Tornado, a triple looper that introduced a unique inversion called a loop-screw that Schilke
It was also during the latter half of the 90's that Alan
began to think more seriously about developing an idea he
had been toying with for some time.Manufactured by Chance, the Zipper is a popular fairground ride where riders are spun head over heels in small, two seat cages that travel around an elliptical track that revolves at the top of a central support.Disorienting, forceful and sometimes intense, the crazy contraption had always been Alan's favourite portable ride and he
began to think about how it might be possible to combine the rotating seat with a roller coaster.Alan
continued to refine his
concept further, creating an innovative, cantilevered train whereby a separate control rail would determine the rotation of each car at any given point on the ride.
team went to work on an ambitious design, incorporating a non-stop succession of at least half a dozen never-before-seen ride elements.
Even after construction began, people kept telling Alan
it would be too wild and disorienting for the general public.Riders would become dizzy and sick.Alan
knew that as long as the acrobatic rolls and flips were done in spots of low G's and the seats were not upside down during the positive G-filled valleys, he
could keep riders' blood flowing normally.X's success has proved him right.
X is only the beginning; Alan
would love to experiment further.For future designs he
would like to split the train with one side facing forwards and the other backwards.
Until then, Alan
hinted that he
will be hard at work on even more inventive track twisting concepts.