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Flying Turns Takes Off at Knoebels

RALPHO TOWNSHIP — The long wait is over for thrillseekers in central Pennsylvania.

Knoebels’ Flying Turns finally opened on Saturday after seven long years of construction and testing.

For the roller coaster fanatics who were some of the first riders ever, it was a ride worth the long wait.

The line for Knoebels Amusement Resort’s newest attraction was long, some folks having to wait two hours to ride it.

Considering how long it’s taken to get the roller coaster ready to roll, a couple hours was nothing.

Flying Turns has been seven years in the making. All that time, engineers have been tweaking and testing, making sure the throwback to a coaster without rails was safe.

“It’s a roller coaster without a track, probably closer to a luge or a bobsled, because the cars are on casters and they follow what physics tells them to do,” said Dick Knoebel, Knoebel’s Amusement Resort.

Flying Turns lives up to its name with “S” turns and a feeling like you’re flying.

“You go through your roll position to get into a turn. If you’re flying you pull back on your yoke. You would be on your side feeling vertical G’s that’s exactly what the ‘Flying Turns’ does,” said Mike Broodley, an engineer who helped build the roller coaster.

The folks at Knoebels said they set out to recreate a classic ride from the 1930s. It took three tries to get the right kind of vehicles for the wooden track. In this era of high-speed, great heights roller coaster, Flying Turns is the only one of its kind.

“This is the only one in the world like it. Nobody else has one, we’re so proud of it. We invite everyone to come and experience the thrill of flying turns,” said Knoebel.

Some have come to experience the new “old” ride, some who even rode a similar coaster a half-century ago.

“We’ve been waiting 7 .5 years for flying turns, having ridden one back in 1967 in Chicago at Riverview,” said Bonnie Bonchak of Illinois. “I love the swooping up in the trough, like you’re flying.”

“This was definitely something we were looking forward to. We’ve seen this built for the last five years now, been waiting for it to open,” said Kay Veschi of Walnutport.

1 Comment

  • John Waite

    I am so pleased to hear that Knoebels Flying Turns is now open. I know it has been a long project for Dick Knoebel and his crew, and I understand that with the regulations now in effect, it took a lot of work and testing to come up with a train that would perform perfectly. I worked on and was manager one season of the Euclid Beach Flying Turns in Cleveland, Ohio way back in 1947-1951. That ride opened in 1930 and I think was the second one to be built and might have been the highest at over 70 feet. The Euclid Beach Park Boys, I think, have at least one car from that 1930 ride. I, too, have been following and waiting with crossed fingers for Knoebels’ version of this great ride. John Fetterman should be congratulated on all his hard work in designing and building the ride years ago and Mike Boodley should be congratulated on making adjustments to the ride and designing a vehicle that would work and comply with today’s requirements. I never cease to admire the hard work and creativeness of the park’s staff. Dick Knoebel, his family and staff deserve much applause for hanging in there and getting this great ride up and running. Now everyone go to Knoebels and ride the great Flying Turns.

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