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The Flying Turns Roller Coaster at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Building it right is something that Knoebels does.  This is the newest ride at Knoebels; the Flying Turns.

The Flying Turns Roller Coaster at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

The Flying Turns has been a long time labor of love at Knoebels.  It is a wooden bobsled coaster.  The last Flying Turns was built in 1940 at Coney Island in Brooklyn and the last one thrilled riders at Euclid Beach in 1969 before this style of coasters became nothing but a memory.

Getting into a little history The Flying Turns was the brainchild of one Norman Bartlett.  Norman Bartlett was a British aviator in the First World War.  After the war he came to America and in 1926 the idea came to him of a trackless chute rollercoaster.  Soon after he filed a patent for it and then met up with the legendary coaster designer John Miller in 1928.  With Bartlett's vision and Miller's coaster know how the first flying turns came together in 1929 at Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio.

The Flying Turns Roller Coaster at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Being a park that specializes in classic rides and resurrecting classic wooden coasters it was not a huge surprise when Knoebels announced in 2006 that they were going to bring the Flying Turns back to life.  Simmilar to how The Knoebels Twister is based on the design of John Allen's Mr. Twister at Elitch Gardens in Denver Colorado the Knoebels Flying Turns is based on Riverview Park in Chicago's Flying Turns that ran from 1935 to 1967.

The Flying Turns Roller Coaster at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Construction began in January of 2006 with the ride being complete in the summer of 2007.  Like the Twister; Knoebels built the Flying Turns in house doing all of the track manufacturing themselves.  Having a lumberyard on site when building a wooden coaster, especially a lumber heavy one like the Flying Turns does have its benefits.


The Flying Turns Roller Coaster at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

The Flying Turns is the predecessor to the bobsled coaster.  Actually the only real difference between these and the modern designs that popped up in the mid 1980's is the construction of track.  The bobsled coasters like La Vibora at Six Flags Over Texas that were designed by Intamin or the Mack designed Avalanche at Kings Dominion have steel chutes where the bobsled rides in while the Flying Turns has a chute made out of layered wood.




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Paul B. Drabek