The Dodonpa roller coaster, left, with Mount Fuji in the background.
|Opening date||21 November 2001|
|Lift/launch system||Compressed air launch|
|Height||49 m (161 ft)|
|Length||1,244 m (4,081 ft)|
|Speed||180 km/h (110 mph)|
|Capacity||80 riders per hour|
|Acceleration||0 to 180 km/h (0 to 112 mph) in 1.56 seconds|
|Height restriction||130 cm (4 ft 3 in)|
|Trains||4 trains with 4 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 8 riders per train.|
Do-Dodonpa at RCDB|
Pictures of Do-Dodonpa at RCDB
Do-Dodonpa (ド･ドドンパ) is an S&S Worldwide roller coaster, formerly known as Dodonpa (ドドンパ), located at Fuji-Q Highland in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan. The ride uses compressed air to launch its trains. This steel roller coaster made its debut on 21 December 2001, making headlines when it broke two records. On opening, it claimed the records of fastest roller coaster in the world, previously shared by Superman: The Escape and Tower of Terror. and the fastest acceleration in the world, with an acceleration from 0 to 180 kilometres per hour (0 to 112 mph) in 1.56 seconds, a record it still holds to this day. This record was previously held by another S&S Worldwide creation, Hypersonic XLC. Steel fabrication was provided by Intermountain Lift, Inc.
Speed and acceleration
The 55 second ride takes the rider across 1,244 metres (4,081 ft) of steel tracks, and peaks at a maximum height of 49 metres (161 ft). Reaching top speeds of 180 kilometres per hour (112 mph) Dodonpa retained the title of world's fastest roller coaster for nearly a year and a half before Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster took it in May 2003. Previous to Dodonpa, only two other roller coasters had broken the 100 mph barrier; today, that number has risen to seven (including Dodonpa).
As for its main attraction, Dodonpa's accelerates from 0 to 180 kilometres per hour (0 to 112 mph), in 1.56 seconds, giving it an acceleration of 32 metres per second per second (6,300 ft/s/min), and up to 3.3 g. By comparison, astronauts only experience 3 G's at liftoff, though for a substantially longer time than 1.56 seconds.
It has been tested at speeds of up to 193 kilometres per hour (120 mph), its rubber tires prevent it from performing reliably at these speeds, so engineers capped the speed at 172 kilometres per hour (107 mph).
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The name of the ride stems from the deep, ominous drumming sound that flows from the speakers as passengers wait in line to board the train. This repetitive percussive music is created by taiko drums, an old traditional Japanese drum that was used to demonstrate power and influence in pre-modern Japanese villages. These drums were supposedly used in warfare to rally troops and scare off the enemy with their thundering sound, and it serves a similar purpose today. The drums add to the tension and excitement as riders wait to board the ride. Often, riders will chant along with the drum sound, which plays three consecutive beats represented by the sounds Do-don-pa.
Finally, passengers board the ride, and the train moves them from the loading station to the launch pad, where it waits, allowing time for the compressed air to build up. When it is ready, a voice in Japanese runs through a checklist and begins the countdown to launch. Riders are given three seconds to mentally prepare themselves before the train is launched at its record-breaking acceleration. To keep riders on their toes, designers added a false start feature, so occasionally riders will experience a "failed" launch, signaled by loud ringing alarms, followed by a surprise "accidental" launch. Less than 2 seconds later, the coaster shoots off at 172 kilometres per hour (107 mph) before banking into a wide-radius curve, turning riders sideways so that they see the park grounds to their right and the sky to their left. This is (as of 2017) followed by a large loop which seems to just barely make it through with help of a wheel on top of the loop to keep the vehicle from stalling or Valleying followed by some more twists and turns and minor hills until it reaches a small brake run then keeps moving (partly from wheels and remaining momentum) back into the station.
The ride uses 4 trains with 4 cars each and 2 seats side by side in each car, giving a total of 8 seats per train. Each train is meant to represent a different member of the family: father, mother, sister, and baby painted with a set of terrified eyes at the front and a mouth that stretches open into a giant scream so that teeth line the entire vehicle.
Dodonpa has had one incident resulting in an injury since it opened in 2001. The injury occurred on 15 May 2007. The victim, a 37-year-old man sustained a minor injury when a plastic cover at the front of the train came loose and hit his right knee. The man was not badly injured because the plastic cover disconnected near the end of the ride when the train had slowed down significantly. The park operator stated that the cover likely came off due to cracks created over time by vibrations in the train. Further inspection of the other trains showed no similar damage.
Fuji-Q Highland closed Dodonpa in 2016 for a major renovation. During the winter of 2016–2017, the ride's top hat was removed. On February 25th, 2017, S&S Worldwide announced in a press release that a 49 metres (161 ft) vertical loop would replace the top hat. On July 15th, 2017, Dodonpa was reopened, and was renamed to Do-Dodonpa. Also included was an accelerated acceleration which change from 0 to 172 kilometres per hour (0 to 107 mph) in 1.8 seconds to 0 to 180 kilometres per hour (0 to 112 mph) in 1.56 seconds and the length increased from 1,189 metres (3,901 ft) to 1,244 metres (4,081 ft). Due to complications it was again shut down the following day, but has since reopened and became the World's First Air Powered Coaster to Feature an Inversion.
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- "Dodonpa". Coaster-Net. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
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- Marden, Duane. "Dodonpa (Fuji-Q Highland)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
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- Konagay, Hideyo (2001). "Taiko as Performance: Creating Japanese American Traditions" (PDF). The Japanese Journal of American Studies. 12: 105–124.
- "Taiko drumming". rhythmweb.com.
- "Malcolm's Japan Trip: Fuji Q Day 2".
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- Official site (in Japanese)
- Dodonpa photos from CoasterGallery.com
- Dodonpa on Roller Coaster Database
Superman: Escape from Krypton
Tower of Terror (tied)
| World's Fastest Roller Coaster
December 2001 – May 2003
Top Thrill Dragster