KNOEBELS Amusement Resort
2013/2014 - Flying Turns - NOW OPEN - (10/23/13) I’ve heard an interesting story over the past week regarding The Flying Turns and it’s accessibility limitations in regards to handicapped or disabled guests. I’m not going to take sides, or get on a soapbox… consider this just a fair warning to anyone who may be planning a visit to the park specially to ride The Flying Turns with someone who is disabled.
per car. According to the sign, if Flying Turns is running 3 or more trains, “You must be able to walk without assistance” to the loading platform in order to ride.
Disabled access to the Flying Turns is only available up the exit ramp, however for those in wheelchairs the park has posted a warning sign (see pic) stating that guests in wheelchairs will only be accommodated on the ride during single or double train operation. It is my understanding that they currently have 3 trains on Flying Turns, and may opt to add a 4th in the future, but it seems there are seldom, if any, times when it only runs 1 or 2 trains due to the rather meak throughput of the ride. Each train only has 3 cars, each can only accommodate 1 or 2 riders, with a maximum weight of 400 pounds
For those who’s disability will allow to get past this first checkpoint, there may be another issue to address in the station. It’s worth mentioning at this point that due to the limitations of The Flying Turns, the normal disabled party / group policy of Knoebels is different on here than elsewhere in the park. Only the disabled person and one guest are allowed to board through the exit ramp. As mentioned in a previous update, all riders are weighed before boarding, and then subject to being moved around from car to car to get a proper weight distribution. However, the current policy is that if the combined weight of the two persons exceeds the weight limit, you will be forced to ride in different trains. While this is acceptable for many disabled guests, this policy doesn’t work well with those who suffer from Autism / Spectrum disorders who are unable to ride unsupervised.
I can see the reasons the rules are in place, so I’m not casting any judgment either way, I’m just providing this information as an advanced warning to those who need to know in advance when planning a visit.
(10/8/13) A reader sent in a quick review of The Flying Turns to share this week:
Flying Turns is destined to be a new/old classic. Will it ever be as impressive as Phoenix for example? No. However, just as the best parks have iconic rides that one MUST ride each time they visit - Flying Turns is and will be one of those rides.
Having walked the "track" with ACE years ago and after having watched a couple of videos posted by Knoebels over the years, the layout and design and a sense of what the ride will be like was fairly discernible.
The good news is that the bulk of the ride is way better than the video might suggest, and there is a good amount of thrill factor. The motions of the ride and the amount of out-of-control feeling one gets on a good bobsled-type coaster are there in spades.
Of course the first pull and small run are very mediocre, but after the main lift, the ride takes on an ever increasing speed sense of danger. Unlike the metal bobsled at Kings Dominion in Virginia, the ride is not only glass-smooth (amazing!) but the trough is sculpted and shaped to created a kind of whipsaw motion where you are sliding faster from side to side so strongly that you begin to think - "if this ride continues much further and keeps gaining speed - we could be in some danger here...."
The KIngs Dominion Bobsled is more of continuous spiral where Flying Turns is definitely a more compact and more interesting ride. Also FT has few points where the rider can look out and get their bearings, the ride is enhanced by this as the high walls keep you encased in a kind of ride cocoon. The ride is a bit too short (but what ride isn't).
Most experienced coaster riders are not going to view it as providing the kind of thrills that an all-out woodie might provide. But in reality, I would compare this ride in some ways to iconic Disney old-school rides. In a way like Big thunder Mountain in that BTM doesn't provide any big scary thrills but again, one feels compelled to ride it almost every visit to MK or Disneyland.
The trains are kind of beautiful in an old school sort of way, and the wheels and hardware holding it all together are VERY beefy. Knoebel's should be (finally !) justifyably proud to produce another unique-to-Knoebel's ride or attraction that will definitely keep bringing in visitors well into the future. Central Pa is the only place in the world where you can still ride what amounts to a 1930's style "thrill" attraction.
Congrats to Knoebel's. Flying Turns is great fun and a great new addition.
You can also see a new video shot by another reader taking a twilight ride on The Flying Turns, as seen from the back car, which gives you a better sense of what is going on in the turns by watching the lead cars. I’ll leave you with one final tip from a reader… try to ride with a ‘heavy train’. Each car is allowed to be loaded with up to 400 lbs of weight, so ride it with the big coaster fans and not a bunch of little kids for a better and wilder ride experience.
(10/7/13) As reported on Saturday, The Flying Turns at Knoebels opened and ran for the public all weekend. So far the reports sent back so far were all very positive, though the ride will suffer from low capacity, and is apparently weight sensitive enough that (as seen in a photo) riders stand on a scale for each car before boarding. Depending on the weight levels, riders may be moved from one car to another as I don’t believe they want the heaviest load in the back car. Congratulations to the Knoebels staff for sticking it out for almost 8 years to finally make this ride a reality.
Pictures from the private night event for coaster enthusiasts on Friday can be found at All American Thrills.
(10/5/13) Breaking News - The Flying Turns opened last night for a special private ACE event and will open to the general public today at NOON! You’ve been waiting almost 8 years for this, so get to the park quick or you may have to wait until 2014 to ride.
(9/19/13) I’m not sure if this is just hopeful thinking or a legit rumor, but after Flying Turns failed to open over Labor Day Weekend, the hopeful now believe that the park may try to open it during the Phoenix Phall Phunfest event instead as a special surprise speak peek, much like they did previously with Black Diamond. No promises yet… just cross your fingers.
(8/23/13) AllAmericanThrills has a new photo update from Knoebels where inspectors were going over Flying Turns.
(8/19/13) Knoebels has posted a POV video of train making the runs on Flying Turns with water dummies this week which can be found on our Facebook page. According to the rumors, the park may be planning on finally opening the ride to the public on Labor Day Weekend.
While I’m not sure what I expected of the Flying Turns after 7.5 years of construction and testing, I have to say that I’m a little disappointed in the final results. The run after the first hill is a bit disappointing compared to the better and more wild run after the second lift hill. Still… my first impression was that it simply looks like a smaller wooden version of Avalanche at Kings Dominion.
Don’t get it wrong, I actually enjoy Avalanche, but after a 7.5 year wait, I guess I was expecting something a bit more different.
(7/15/13) The latest buzz from Knoebels regarding the fate of Flying Turns is that things are still looking very promising. More testing is needed that could take another 4-6 weeks, because a second train of cars is expected to arrive within the next two weeks that will need to have a number of test runs. If all goes well after all this, we could be looking at Flying Turns finally opening to guests as early as late August.
(7/1/13) Special thanks to one of our readers who dropped into Knoebels this weekend and discovered the Flying Turns making more test runs. They ran up in time to send in a few close-up pictures of the train.
(6/28/13) I’ve heard a few rumors online and now a report from AllAmericanThrills to confirm it that Knoebel’s seems to have begun testing Flying Turns once again. According to a few reports earlier this week, they saw an empty train get set out around the track once early in the morning and then put away. However another reader who was at the park on Thursday noticed that the park was testing the train, loaded with water dummies this time, and it ran several times over the course of the day. Looks like they are finally making progress.
So what do you think? Will we see Flying Turns finally open in 2013? It has been a long time coming, with Flying Turns originally intended to open back in 2007, and here we are six years later and still waiting for it.
(8/21/12) AllAmericanThrills reports that Knoebels is planning on testing the Flying Turns once again very soon. They’re just awaiting some new vehical parts which will be merged with the last version of the chassis. The thought is that they are very very close now to solving this puzzle and hope to be open for 2013.
(7/30/12) Consider me amazed… because in just a few weeks since the last pictures were taken, that empty section of the Flying Turns we saw at Knoebels which was the transfer track area, now seems to have been rebuilt. According to one story, they have rebuilt the transfer track area to accommodate the latest train design. A new and very promising train is said to be under construction and is expected to be ready for testing within the next couple of months. If all goes well… this could be the final breakthrough they have been working so hard to achieve.
(7/27/12) A few weeks ago one of our readers went to Knoebels and was surprised to find that the Flying Turns coaster had no station, or station track. I’m not quite sure why the station was removed, unless they are working on yet another new train design that may require them to alter the design of the station elements. For whatever reason… it looks like there is no chance of it opening this year based on this development.
(12/15/11) Solid news about the status of Knoebel’s Flying Turns project is hard to come by, though I’ve heard through the grapevine that with the help of Mike Boodley, there is a good chance we may finally see the troubled ride open for the 2012 season. Cross your fingers!!
(6/8/11) Knoebels has posted a great POV video shot from the front of a new Flying Turns train on their Facebook page this week. I’m happy to say that finally things are starting to progress in the right direction for this ride. Given that the video says that the footage was shot from a new “prototype” car, I’m guessing it will be 2012 before they will have a finished version ready to go… assuming all is well with the prototype. Thanks to the Knoebels staff for sharing this with everyone, to let us know that there is still life in the project, as I think many had started to lose hope.
(4/27/11) A news article digs in for some details about the current status of the Flying Turns coaster, but the bottom line is that coaster is still not ready to open. The problem has been blamed on new building standards that require the coaster cars to be far more heavy than they would have been if built in the 1930s.
(1/4/11) Disregard that article link posted yesterday about the possibility of the Flying Turns opening in 2011. I got in touch with the author and clarified things a bit, and unfortunately they were not privy to any new information about the ride either, so for now The Flying Turns will remain in limbo.
(1/3/11) I’m not sure if this site knows something we don’t, but if you read the report about Knoebels on (LINK REMOVED) they seem to believe that the park may be ready to open The Flying Turns in 2011, along with Black Diamond. Of course we’ve all been hoping the Flying Turns would open every year for the past several years, but will 2011 finally be it? Considering the complete silence from the park about the project for the past year, I have serious doubts 2011 will be the lucky year, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.
(8/16/10) While nothing concrete has been sent in regarding the future of The Flying Turns, I did get a report earlier this month claiming that the park was expecting to receive new trains for testing on the ride in the second half of August. So if you drop by the park, keep an eye open for them to possibly begin testing again if this proves to be true.
(7/7/10) While it has been some time since we’ve seen progress over at the Flying Turns, a reader tell us about what appears to be sensors and possible cameras placed around the ride currently. I don’t know if these are a few development or left over from previous work, but it would be nice to see some sign of life there. Anyone know for sure?
(3/9/10) While this article is mostly about the new Black Diamond ride in 2011, it does talk briefly about Flying Turns. Knoebels wont confirm an opening date or even year yet, sticking to the “It’ll be done when it’s done” line, but they do say that they’ve been testing a new train with “encouraging results”.
(11/13/09) The Knoebels website has posted some pictures of the new train pieces that have arrived at the park this past week.
(11/11/09) A Screamscape source tells us that the new Flying Turns train has now arrived at the park and testing is expected to begin possibly by the end of the week if possible.
(11/5/09) Park World has posted an update on the Flying Turns at Knoebels. When will it open you ask? “When it is done,” according to Kick Knoebels. A new train design has been ordered and they expect to have it on site in time to do some test runs before the snow falls. If everything works out at last, we could see Flying Turns ready to open for the 2010 season.
(8/24/09) While I haven’t heard very much at all, rumor has it that we shouldn’t expect to see the Flying Turns open until the 2010 season at this point.
(6/8/09) I’ve got a bit of an update on the Flying Turns to share today. It seems they are making some more drastic changes to the track layout this time around while they wait for the new train to arrive. New footers have been spotted that indicate that the sweeping rear lower turn will be rebuilt to have a wider radius. Sections of the trough have been ripped apart here and there and it looks like the a large section of track near the end of the ride has already been completely rebuilt with a new layout. You can see a few pictures posted to Coaster Force.
(4/18/09) What everyone wants to know is… what is the deal with The Flying Turns? Thankfully Knoebels has posted a new report on just this issue at the bottom of their What’s New page. Do they have an opening date? Nope. Can they confirm it will open in 2009? Not yet… but they report that they are closer than ever, and have been redesigning some of the trough as well as waiting to see the plans for a new 3rd version of the coaster train design, so they can approve it and begin construction of said train. With that in mind… don’t count on seeing this sucker open until the end of season most likely.
(10/12/07) While the track layout for the coaster is now complete, it seems that the mystery of the final train design is still eluding them for now. It seems that designing the rolling stock for this project has been probably one of the most difficult aspects of the entire project as they try to discover just what the perfect combination of size, weight, appearance, length, height and wheel material is to make it work. They did have a few pieces of the prototype train on site which they ran for the crowd. It was also mentioned that the final train is only expected to have 5 cars… each holding two riders, so the total capacity for each train will only be 10 riders at a time.
As for the track itself, I’m told that it is made of up a total of six layers of wood strips, with the top “track” layer made from Cypress, a forgiving hardwood that is also very durable. Knoebels is also experimenting with an a epoxy surface coating that will both enhance the durability of the top layer but make it very slick and smooth, speeding up the train. Because this could also cause the train to slide around a bit too much they are still evaluating if they will use it or not. In the end they may have to come up with a combination of materials to use that will be slick enough to run the train on, but also have some gritty bits in it for the trains to grip on to.
As for the test runs… it was said that the Flying Turns runs fairly silent right now and due to the design of the trough, it’s near impossible to catch anything more than a glimpse of it running through the course. There are a total of three lift hills, with the last one being fairly small and towards the end of the ride.