Do-Dodonpa

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Do-Dodonpa
Do-Dodonpa logo.jpg
Dodonpa rollercoaster 2005-05.JPG
The Dodonpa roller coaster, left, with Mount Fuji in the background. The top hat has since been replaced with a vertical loop.
Fuji-Q Highland
LocationFuji-Q Highland
Coordinates35°29′15.72″N 138°46′56.13″E / 35.4877000°N 138.7822583°E / 35.4877000; 138.7822583Coordinates: 35°29′15.72″N 138°46′56.13″E / 35.4877000°N 138.7822583°E / 35.4877000; 138.7822583
StatusClosed
Opening date21 December 2001 (2001-12-21)
General statistics
TypeSteel
ManufacturerS&S – Sansei Technologies
ModelAir-Launched Coaster
Lift/launch systemCompressed air launch
Height49 m (161 ft)
Length1,244 m (4,081 ft)
Speed180 km/h (110 mph)
Inversions1
Capacity80 riders per hour
Acceleration0 to 180 km/h (0 to 112 mph) in 1.6 seconds
Height restriction130 cm (4 ft 3 in)
Trains4 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), formerly known as Dodonpa (ドドンパ), is a steel roller coaster located at Fuji-Q Highland in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan. Manufactured by S&S – Sansei Technologies, the launched coaster uses compressed air to propel its trains.[1] It opened on 21 December 2001 as the fastest roller coaster in the world with the fastest acceleration, reaching a top speed of 172 km/h (106.9 mph) in 1.8 seconds.[2][3] The fastest speed record was previously held by Superman: The Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Tower of Terror at Dreamworld, both of which accelerated to 160.9 km/h (100 mph) in 7 seconds.[4] The ride was refurbished in 2017, removing the top hat element in favor of a vertical loop and increasing its speed and acceleration to 180 km/h (111.8 mph) in 1.6 seconds.[5] Steel fabrication was provided by Intermountain Lift, Inc.[6] In 2021, the ride was closed down indefinitely after multiple complaints of the ride breaking riders' bones were raised. [7]

Speed and acceleration[edit]

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).[5] Reaching top speeds of 180 kilometres per hour (112 mph)[5] in 1.6 seconds,[8] Do-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.[4] This gives the ride an acceleration of 32 metres per second per second (6,300 ft/s/min), and up to 3.3 g.[5][9] By comparison, astronauts only experience 3 g at liftoff, though for a duration substantially longer than 1.6 seconds.[10] While the ride 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) prior to the ride's renovation.[11]

Before Do-Dodonpa's initial opening, only two roller coasters reached or went beyond the 100 miles per hour (161 km/h) barrier. As of 2020, that number stands at six (including Do-Dodonpa): Superman: Escape from Krypton; Red Force; Top Thrill Dragster; Kingda Ka; Do-Dodonpa; and Formula Rossa, the world's fastest roller coaster. Furthermore, Tower of Terror II, which was previously known as Tower of Terror, once traveled at least 100 miles per hour (161 km/h), but it is currently no longer in operation.[12]

2017 renovation[edit]

Dodonpa closed in 2016 for a major renovation. The ride's top hat was removed and replaced with a 49-metre (161 ft) vertical loop, announced in a February 2017 press release from the manufacturer. Dodonpa reopened on 15 July 2017. The renovated and revamped ride featured an increased acceleration and maximum speed, which changed from 0 to 172 km/h (0 to 107 mph) in 1.8 seconds to 0 to 180 km/h (0 to 112 mph) in 1.6 seconds. The track length also increased from 1,189 to 1,244 metres (3,901 to 4,081 ft). The renovation made Dodonpa the world's first air-powered coaster to feature an inversion, as well as the fastest coaster in the world with an inversion.

Ride experience[edit]

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.[13] These drums were supposedly used in warfare to rally troops and scare off the enemy with their thundering sound.[14]

While waiting in line, riders hear the drums played through speakers, building up tension and excitement. Often, riders will chant along with the drum sound, which plays three consecutive beats represented by the sounds Do-don-pa.[5]

Once passengers board the ride, 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 the ride is ready to launch, a voice in English says "Launch time!" and begins a three-second countdown to launch.[15][16] To keep riders on their toes, designers added a false start feature, in which riders will occasionally experience a "failed" launch, signaled by loud ringing alarms, followed by a surprise "accidental" launch.[8]

After the coaster shoots off at 180 kilometres per hour (112 mph), it enters a wide-radius curve followed by a 160.8 feet (49.0 m) vertical loop (previously a top hat prior to 2017). The train then enters a slight left turn before hitting a brake run. A second left turn followed by a right U-turn, both taken at slower speeds, brings the train back to the station.[5]

The ride has a total of 4 trains with 4 cars per train. Each car seats 2 riders side-by-side, resulting in a total capacity of 8 riders per train.

Incidents[edit]

Since its opening in 2001, Do-Dodonpa has had several incidents resulting in injury to passengers.

On 15 May 2007, 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.[17]

From December 2020 to August 2021, there were 18 injuries sustained while riding Do-Dodonpa, which included nine incidents of broken bones. Fuji-Q Highland owner Hiroaki Iwata apologized for the injuries at a press conference speech on August 31st, and an official investigation of these incidents has been ongoing since December 2020.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Levy, Glen (21 January 2010). "Top 10 Roller Coasters". Time. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010.
  2. ^ "Dodonpa". Coaster-Net. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Top 10 Scariest Roller Coasters in the World". Allyouneedislists.com. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Roller Coaster Record Holders". COASTER-net. Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Marden, Duane. "Dodonpa  (Fuji-Q Highland)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  6. ^ "Amusement". Intermountain Lift. Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Yahoo India".
  8. ^ a b Adamiak, Jessica. "World's Scariest Roller Coasters". Travel + Leisure.
  9. ^ "Dodonpa - Fuji-Q Highland - Roller Coasters". ultimaterollercoaster.com.
  10. ^ "How do you calculate G-forces?". HowStuffWorks. 10 May 2001.
  11. ^ "Dodonpa". CoasterGallery.com. Archived from the original on 29 December 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Record Holders". rcdb.com.
  13. ^ Konagay, Hideyo (2001). "Taiko as Performance: Creating Japanese American Traditions" (PDF). The Japanese Journal of American Studies. 12: 105–124.
  14. ^ "Taiko drumming". rhythmweb.com.
  15. ^ "Malcolm's Japan Trip: Fuji Q Day 2".
  16. ^ "World's Fastest Roller Coaster Acceleration! Do-Dodonpa! W/ Loop! POV Fuji Q Highland Japan ド・ドドンパ". Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  17. ^ "Man hurt in Dodonpa rollercoaster - Theme Park Review". themeparkreview.com.

External links[edit]

Preceded by World's Fastest Complete-Circuit Roller Coaster
December 2001 – May 2003
Succeeded by
Preceded by World's Fastest Roller Coaster
December 2001 – May 2003