“Are you ready?”
And then we were shot out of a cannon.
At least, that’s what I imagine being shot out of a cannon would feel like.
Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor amusement park, located in Abu Dhabi, is home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa. The roller coaster clocks a top speed of 240 km/h. That is 150 miles per hour for my stateside readers. And this is all within 5 seconds of starting. That’s 4.8 G’s of acceleration.
Quick comparison of g-forces:
- Bugatti Veyron, German sports car… G-Force = 1.5 g
- Gravitron* Amusement Ride… G-Force = 2.5 g
- Space shuttle, upon launch and reentry… G-Force = 3 g
- Top Fuel Drag Racing (world record)… G-Force = 4.2 g
- Luge (Olympics Record)… G-Force = 5.2 g
At 4.8 g, we weren’t quite at the acceleration of a human bullet in spandex sliding down ice, but we were moving faster than a spaceship. Wowwie wow wow!
Furthermore was the anticipation.
The people two rides ahead of us got into their seats and drifted about ten feet down the track before slowing to a stop. At the exact place where the riders before them had been shot into oblivion, they were now shot into anxiety. Instead of a soothing “Goodbye” on the loud speaker, they heard, “Patience please. Maintenance on the track required.”
Ten minutes later they were reversed into the starting gate and un-boarded from the 2 X 6 seat roller coaster. After a test run without passengers they were loaded back into the seats, but with rather more trepidatious expressions on their face. Maybe they didn’t want to experience the world’s fastest coaster. Maybe I didn’t want to ride the world’s fastest coaster. Did I even like fast things? My imagination ran wild with possible scenarios…
If a bird flew into my face at that speed what would I look like after?
Was it possible to use a flux capacitor to travel ‘Back to the Future’?
Was Michael J. Fox afraid of high speeds?
These questions raced through my mind, but before I could object, I was strapped in. My park issued goggles were securely around my head as I read the signs, ‘Keep arms down and inside the car’. A calm voice suddenly whispered into my ears, “Goodbye”, and then…