“”Hang-gliding meets free-falling,” a ride on Haley’s Comet takes you directly down “the nerve center” of AREA15. ”
When Area 15 approached us with their immersive playground idea in the summer of 2020, we instantly became excited by the project. The initial concept was for a dual Rollglider that goes around the “spine” of the center. We then developed the idea for an Electric Racing Rollglider that allows two riders to speed up and compete. The result is a unique Rollglider not only for the US but the world.
Developing the concept and building the Rollglider from start to finish took one year and was a multi-team effort. The project was certainly challenging and the Covid crisis took us by surprise but we are proud to say that we executed everything to the highest possible standard.
This Rollglider features a dual HDG steel track with a guiding plate for a smoother and steadier ride experience. One of the interesting features of this Rollglider that it can be operated as a dual racing ride or as one long panoramic ride.
The Rollglider operates with battery-powered trolleys and features several operational modes. In automatic mode, trolleys maintain constant predefined speed, and cannot be controlled by the ride participant. The Rollglider also features a Safety Control System with electrically controlled gates on each of the tracks. The system ensures the safety of participants and does not allow multiple riders on the line.
The Rollglider trolleys in Area 15 are propelled by electric motors powered by an on-board rechargeable battery. Entering each specific section of the track switches the way the trolley is controlled, into one of the following modes:
- Manual mode: the participant can manually control the ride speed (up to 3.14 m/s | 10 ft/s); speed cannot be reduced below a pre-programmed automatic speed (0.5 m/s | 1.6 ft/s) to avoid participants getting stuck on the line;
- Automatic mode: the trolley speed is set to a pre-programmed value (1.5 m/s | 5 ft/s); participants cannot manually control the trolley speed. This automatic mode includes setting the speed to zero, i.e. trolley is completely stopped and is implemented at the beginning and at the end of the track for safety reasons.
The SAFETY CONTROL SYSTEM
The Rollglider features a Safety Control System that complies with the highest industry standards of quality and reliability. All trolleys are equipped with sensors and the track is divided into sectors equipped with electronically controlled gates. Trolleys also have buffers that absorb some of the impact energy when trolleys are moving at low speeds. Lastly, the trolleys are fitted with remote control with a radio in the unrestricted 2.4 GHz range. The remote control is used by the operator to override the behavior of the trolley for use during service or maintenance. Service mode: whenever the trigger of the remote is pressed, the trolley switches to service mode. The throttle no longer responds to user input, and the trolley is controlled by the operator until a magnet is encountered that tells it to stop.
Trolley and Track Sensors:
The Control System utilizes sensors and magnets to switch between trolley vehicle modes, lock, and unlock the start and ending gates, and alert operators about ride safety.
Industrial safety lock system. Locking is mechanical and the device stays locked under the loss of power supply.
Ride footprint /non-operational/ 89×20 m | 292’’ x 65.5’’
Ride footprint /operational/ 92×23 m | 302’’ x 75.5’’
Track height 8.97 m | 29’ 5’’
Type of installation permanent
Service life 10 years
Charging station maximum power consumption 1.5 KW
Charging station electrical requirements 1-phase 110 V / 60 Hz
Electrical trolley motor power 2×0.75 kW
Electrical trolley battery voltage 48 V DC
Electrical battery capacity 21Ah
Rated capacity 60 trolleys/h
Passenger capacity per trolley 1 person
Number of trolleys on the track at the same time 1
Average ride time 60 s
Track diameter 108 mm | 4.25”
Total track length 192 m | 630’
Effective ride length 178 m | 584’
Length of non-riding segments 14 m | 46’
Maximum slope 8%
Maximum speed 3.14 m/s | 10.3 ft/s
Maximum tangential accelerations [X direction] -1.57 m/s2 [-0.16 g] +2.09 m/s2 [+0.21 g]
Maximum lateral accelerations [Y direction] -2.06 m/s2 [-0.2 g] +2.06 m/s2 [+0.2 g]
Maximum vertical accelerations [Z direction]+9.81 m/s2 [+1 g] +10.02 m/s2 [+1.02 g]
Maximum braking acceleration -1.57 m/s2 [-0.16 g]
Return on Investment
Some of the biggest challenges we have encountered were connected to the COVID19 crisis. Unfortunately, the pandemic delayed the delivery of some core components which required our teams to work at an extraordinarily fast pace for months. ASTM certification was also something that we haven’t done before but despite this and the huge amount of technical documents needed, we managed to complete the whole certification in time. Overall, all our teams collaborated on this project with more than 40 people working closely on it. We believe that our efforts paid off as the result is a truly marvelous Rollglider and a magical ride that is sure to bring happiness and thrills to many.