Do-Dodonpa

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Do-Dodonpa
Dodonpa rollercoaster 2005-05.JPG
The Dodonpa roller coaster, left, with Mount Fuji in the background.
Fuji-Q Highland
Coordinates 35°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
Status Operating
Opening date 21 November 2001 (2001-11-21)
General statistics
Type Steel
Manufacturer S&S Worldwide
Model Air-Launched Coaster
Lift/launch system Compressed air launch
Height 49 m (161 ft)
Length 1,244 m (4,081 ft)
Speed 180 km/h (110 mph)
Inversions 1
Duration 0:55
Capacity 1000 riders per hour
Acceleration 0 to 180 km/h (0 to 112 mph) in 1.56 seconds
G-force 4.25
Height restriction 130 cm (4 ft 3 in)
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.[1] This steel roller coaster made its debut on 21 December 2001, making headlines when it broke two records.[2] On opening, it claimed the records of fastest roller coaster in the world, previously shared by Superman: The Escape and Tower of Terror.[3] and the fastest acceleration in the world,[4] with an acceleration from 0 to 180 km/h in 1.56 seconds.[5] This record previously held by another S&S Worldwide creation, Hypersonic XLC. Steel fabrication was provided by Intermountain Lift, Inc.[6]

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.[7] Reaching top speeds of 112 mph,[7] 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.[3] Previous to Dodonpa, only two other roller coasters had broken the 100 mph barrier; today, that number has risen to seven (including Dodonpa).[8]

As for its main attraction, Dodonpa's accelerates from 0 km/h to its maximum speed, 180 km/h, in 1.6 seconds,[9] giving it an acceleration of 32 m/s2 (87.2 ft/sec2), and up to 3.3 G's.[7][10] By comparison, astronauts only experience 3 G's at liftoff, though for a substantially longer time than 1.6 seconds.[11]

It has been tested at speeds of up to 193 km/h, its rubber tires prevent it from performing reliably at these speeds, so engineers capped the speed at 172 km/h.[12]

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] 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.[7]

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.[15] 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.[9] Less than 2 seconds later, the coaster shoots off at 172 km/h 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 break run then keeps moving (partly from wheels and remaining momentum) back into the station.[2]

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[7] 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.[16]

Predecessor[edit]

The first roller coaster to use compressed air to launch its trains was Hypersonic XLC at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia. Like Dodonpa, it was manufactured by S&S Worldwide and featured a similar 90° 16-story hump. It had a maximum height of 50 m (165 ft) and a maximum drop of 41 m (133 ft).[17] It also included some distinct differences from its successor, Dodonpa. Hypersonic XLC's maximum speed was only 130 km/h (80 mph) which it reached in 1.8 seconds from rest. Also, the track was only 480 m (1,560 ft) long, about half as long as Dodonpa's track. Hypersonic XLC closed and was dismantled in 2007.

Incidents[edit]

Dodonpa has reported one injury in its 10 years running. 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.[18]

2017 renovation[edit]

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 new Dodonpa Loop would be added in place of the top hat at Fuji-Q Highland. On July 15th, 2017, Dodonpa was reopened with renovations including a name change to Do-Dodonpa and a 49m vertical loop. Also included was an accelerated acceleration which change from 0 to 172 km/h in 1.8 seconds to 0 - 180km/h in 1.56 seconds and the length increased from 1,189m to 1,244m. Due to complications it was again shut down the following day.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Levy, Glen. "Dodonpa - Top 10 Roller Coasters." TIME, 21 Jan. 2010. Web. 7 Feb. 2012 http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1954707_1954711_1954694,00.html
  2. ^ a b "Dodonpa." COASTER-net, 4 May 2011. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Roller Coaster Record Holders." COASTER-net. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Top 10 Scariest Roller Coasters in the World." Allyouneedislists.com. AYNILISTS, 3 July 2011. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Dodonpa - Fuji-Q Highland (Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan)". rcdb.com. Retrieved 2017-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Dodonpa (Fuji-Q Highland)." Rcdb.com. Roller Coaster Database. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. http://www.rcdb.com/1423.htm
  8. ^ "Record Holders." Rcdb.com. Roller Coaster DataBase, 12 Feb. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. http://rcdb.com/rhr.htm
  9. ^ a b Adamiak, Jessica. "World's Scariest Roller Coasters." Travel + Leisure, July 2011. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-scariest-roller-coasters/13
  10. ^ "Dodonpa - Fuji-Q Highland - Roller Coasters." Ultimate Rollercoaster. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/coasters/yellowpages/coasters/dodonpa_fuji-q-highland.shtml
  11. ^ "How Do You Calculate G-forces?" HowStuffWorks "Science" Web. 7 Feb. 2012. http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/question633.htm
  12. ^ Rogers, Joel A. "Dodonpa." CoasterGallery.com -- Your Source for Roller Coaster Pictures and Information! Coaster Gallery. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  13. ^ Konagaya, Hideyo. Taiko as Performance: Creating Japanese American Tradition. Rep. The Japanese Journal of American Studies, No.12 (2001). Web. 6 Feb. 2012. http://www.soc.nii.ac.jp/jaas/periodicals/JJAS/PDF/2001/No.12-105.pdf[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "The Taiko Page." Rhythm Web. 7 Feb. 2012. http://rhythmweb.com/taiko/index.html
  15. ^ Malcolm. "Fuji Q Day 2." Review. Web log post. Malcolm's Japan Trip. Web. 7 Feb. http://malcolmsjapantrip.blogspot.com/2002/04/fuji-q-day-2.html
  16. ^ http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/files/dodonpa_trains_204.jpg.
  17. ^ "HyperSonic XLC (Kings Dominion)." Rcdb.com. Roller Coaster DataBase. Web. 07 http://www.rcdb.com/729.htm
  18. ^ "Man Hurt in Dodonpa Rollercoaster." Themeparkreview.com. Theme Park Review, 16 May 2007. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=35571

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Superman: Escape from Krypton
and
Tower of Terror (tied)
World's Fastest Roller Coaster
December 2001–May 2003
Succeeded by
Top Thrill Dragster