Kingda Ka (the tallest and fastest roller coaster) by xri35382


									                Kingda Ka (the tallest and fastest roller coaster)
Kingda Ka is a roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in 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 Dragster at Cedar Point. The train
is launched by a hydraulic launch mechanism to 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5
seconds. At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main top hat tower reaching a
height of 456 feet (139.5 m). 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. It was revealed that the ride would become "the tallest and fastest
roller coaster on earth", reaching 456 feet (139 m) high and accelerating up to 128 miles
per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds.

On January 13, 2005, Kingda Ka was topped off at its 456-foot (139 m) height, finishing
construction. 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 Flags announced that Kingda Ka's opening would be delayed; media day would
have been on April 21. Before Kingda Ka was built, Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster
was the tallest and fastest roller coaster on the planet.

During a test run with no passengers on June 6, 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.

Major malfunctions

On 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 friction
against the cable. The friction caused the train not to accelerate to 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 force to the cable to attain the 128 mph (206 km/h) launch

The brake fins—metal fins attached to the underside of some roller coaster cars that slide
between brakes mounted to the track—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 actuators that raise and lower the fins into the desired position.
                                       Kingda Ka's tower

There are four braking zones, and each zone has about 5000 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. 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.

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
hi 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) or
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 "pass
flash" entrance.

Ride experience
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
accelerates the train from 0 to 128 miles per hour (0 to 206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds. 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 456 feet (139 m). The train then
descends 418 feet (127 m) straight down through a 270-degree spiral. Finally, the train
climbs the second hill of 128 feet (39 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.

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 track that
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

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'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 line before 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 switch track at the station's exit


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, with the teal train being the only train used for the whole season. Kingda Ka
opened for the 2007 season with all four trains running.

Each of Kingda Ka's trains has a panel 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 18-20
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.

Seat restraints

                            Kingda Ka's seats with the restraints down

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 hydraulic locking 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.

How it works

                                     hydraulic launch mechanism

       The catch-car connects to the train to launch it. This is the catch-car found on Kingda Ka.

An Accelerator Coaster's launch system operates on the same basic principle as a Super
Soaker, but on a much larger scale. The coaster's power source is several hydraulic
pumps, each capable of producing 500 horsepower (373 KW). These pumps push
hydraulic fluid into several accumulators. These accumulators are divided into two
compartments by a movable piston, one side filled with hydraulic fluid and the other with
nitrogen gas. The nitrogen is held in large tanks directly beneath the actual accumulator.
As the hydraulic fluid fills the accumulators, it pushes on the pistons, compressing the
nitrogen. It takes approximately 45 seconds to pressurize the accumulators with all
pumps operating. All of this pressure is released during each launch, which typically lasts
between 2 and 4 seconds.

The heart of the launch system is a large winch, around which the launch cables are
wound. This winch is driven by hydraulic turbines. The two launch cables are attached to
the winch on its ends, and run through two grooves on top of the launch track. The cables
are attached to the sides of the catch-car, which runs in a trough between the grooves. A
third, single retractor cable is attached to the rear of the catch-car, it runs around a pulley
wheel at the rear end of the launch track and returns to the hydraulic building along the
bottom of the launch track, where it is wound in the opposing direction on the winch's

The train connects to the catch-car with a solid piece of metal known as a "launch dog"
that drops down from the center car. The launch dog is normally retracted and is held in
place by a small magnet, but the launch area has electrical contacts that demagnetize the
magnet and cause the launch dog to drop down. The launch dog drops down at an angle,
similar to the chain dog that a lifted coaster uses to connect to the lift chain.

Once the train and catch-car are in position and all is clear, the operator presses the
"Launch" button and the launch sequence begins:

   1. The train's launch dog is released.
   2. The drive tires that advance the train to the launch track retract. Because the
      launch track is sloped slightly upwards, the train rolls backwards a few inches,
      until it is stopped by the launch dog engaging the catch-car.
   3. The anti-rollback magnetic brakes on the launch track retract.
   4. Approximately five seconds later, the launch valves in the hydraulic room open.
      The compressed nitrogen in the accumulators forces the hydraulic fluid into the
      turbines that drive the winch. As the winch winds in the launch cables, the
      retractor cable is unwound from the winch. After the train moves off the electrical
      contacts in the launch area, its launch dog is held down only by the force of the
      accelerating catch-car.
   5. Each section of brakes on the launch track pops back up immediately after the
      train passes a proximity switch.
   6. When the train reaches full speed and all the pressure in the accumulators has
      been released, the catch-car, still connected to the train, enters its braking zone.
      The catch-car uses the same braking configuration as the train, but is much
      lighter, so it slows down very quickly. As the catch-car begins to slow down, the
      train's launch dog retracts - the shape where it drops into is a "v" shape, so the dog
      is forced back into position as it runs over the catch-car and is held in place by the
      magnet, as the train continues on its way.
   7. Once the catch-car has stopped, the launch system resets - the winch reverses
      direction, returning the catch-car to the launch area using the third retractor cable,
      and the pumps begin recharging the accumulators. This normally takes about 45
      seconds, after which the next train can be launched.

If the train rolls back, it will be brought to a near stop (magnetic brakes cannot
completely stop a train) well before the beginning of the launch track. Regardless of the
position of the catch-car when the train passes it going backwards, there will be no
interference as the train's launch dog will be retracted. After the train slows to a near stop,
the brakes will be cycled up and down to control the train's speed until it is back in
launch position. On the larger coasters, this "launch reset" process can take more than a
minute as the train must be moved very slowly. Once the train is back in launch position,
it can be launched again or can be returned to the station.

The basic launch sequence is often accompanied by various theme elements. The most
common is "starting lights" that cycle down from yellow to green, the green light coming
on just as the train begins to accelerate.

The number of pumps, accumulators, and turbines varies with the speed the coaster is
designed to achieve. Kanonen (the world's slowest Accelerator Coaster) has a design
speed of 47 mph (76 km/h), one pump, one accumulator, and eight turbines. Kingda Ka
(the world's fastest roller coaster) has a design speed of 128 mph (206 km/h), seven
pumps, four accumulators, and 32 turbines. The system as a whole is capable of
producing up to 20,800 horsepower (15.5 MW) for each launch, although a typical launch
uses less than 10,000 horsepower (7,500 kW).

The catch-car is stopped by magnetic brakes identical to those used to stop the train. In
order to give the catch-car room to slow down, only about three quarters of the launch
track can actually be used to launch the train, the catch-car needs 64 feet(20m) on a
100km/h accelerator coaster (and significantly more on a faster coaster like Kingda Ka)
to slow to a full stop.

One major advantage of this launch system compared to others is its low power
consumption, the hydraulic pumps run constantly and actually use less energy than most
chain lift drive motors.
                           Kingda Ka

                 Looking at Kingda Ka from launch track

   Location      Six Flags Great Adventure
  Park section   The Golden Kingdom

  Coordinates       40°08′23″N 74°26′5″W40.13972°N
      Type       Steel - Launched
     Status      Open
    Opened       May 21, 2005
 Manufacturer    Intamin AG
    Designer     Werner Stengel
     Model       Accelerator Coaster
                   Hydraulic launch
     Height        456 ft (139 m)
      Drop         418 ft (127 m)
     Length        3,118 ft (950 m)
   Max speed       128 mph (206 km/h)
   Inversions      0
    Duration       28 seconds
    Capacity       1400 riders per hour
      Cost         $25,000,000 USD
  Acceleration 0 to 128 mph (0 to 206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds
  Max g-force approx. 4-5
Height restriction 4 ft 6 in (140 cm)


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