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A drop tower or big drop is a type of amusement ride incorporating a central structure or tower. Drop towers vary in height, passenger capacity, lift type, and brake type. Many are custom-made, although there are some mass-produced designs. Riders experience free-fall initially, followed by rapid heavy deceleration.
With most drop towers, a gondola carrying riders is lifted to the top of a large vertical structure, then released to free-fall down the tower. Brakes activate to slow the gondola as it approaches the bottom of the ride. Some designs expand on this concept with features such as rotating gondolas, or several bounces before coming to rest.
Most drop towers require child riders to exceed a minimum height; limits vary widely depending upon the nature of the tower, with a 30-foot (9 m) tower for smaller children from 37 inches (95 cm) tall, and a 115-foot (35 m) tower having a 51-inch (130 cm) restriction.
Certain drop towers propel the gondola down as they fall, accelerating the gondola faster than the riders, and leading to riders being lifted out of their seats.
A drop tower type of ride is distinct from an observation tower ride; the latter acts more like a traditional elevator, gently lifting riders up to its maximum height before lowering them gently as well.[clarification needed]
Mass-produced tower rides include:
- FlightLine Free Fall Ride
- Double Shot (air-powered blast up and down)
- The Piledriver
- Space Shot (air-powered blast up)
- Spring Ride / Family Tower
- Super Shot
- Turbo Drop (air-powered blast down)
- Intamin Drop Tower
- Z-Force (Zamperla shot'n'drop tower)
- Flash Tower (Zamperla shot'n'drop tower)
- Hurakan Condor (Multi-ride with variants)
Tallest vertical drop towers
|Rank||Name||Park||Location||Drop height||Structural height||Manufacturer||Record holder|
|1.||Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom||Six Flags Great Adventure||Jackson, New Jersey, USA||415 feet (126 m)||456 feet (139 m)||Intamin||July 2014 – Present|
|2.||Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom||Six Flags Magic Mountain||Valencia, California, USA||400 feet (120 m)||415 feet (126 m)||Intamin||July 2012 – July 2014|
|3.||The Giant Drop||Dreamworld||Coomera, Queensland, Australia||377 feet (115 m)||390 feet (120 m)||Intamin||December 1998 – July 2012|
|4.||Blue Fall||Sea Paradise||Yokohama, Japan||328 feet (100 m)||351 feet (107 m)||Intamin||N/A|
|Le Donjon de l'extrême||Nigloland||Dolancourt, France||328 feet (100 m)||390 feet (120 m)||Funtime||N/A|
|La Venganza del Enigma||Parque Warner Madrid||Madrid, Spain||328 feet (100 m)||377 feet (115 m)||S&S Worldwide||N/A|
|5.||Falcon's Fury||Busch Gardens Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay, Florida, USA||310 feet (94 m)||335 feet (102 m)||Intamin||N/A|
|6.||AtmosFear||Liseberg||Gothenburg, Sweden||300 feet (91 m)||381 feet (116 m)||Intamin||N/A|
|7.||Hurakan Condor||PortAventura||Salou, Catalonia, Spain||283 feet (86 m)||330 feet (100 m)||Intamin||N/A|
|8.||Drop Tower: Scream Zone||Kings Dominion||Doswell, Virginia, USA||272 feet (83 m)||305 feet (93 m)||Intamin||N/A|
|9.||Drop Tower: Scream Zone||Kings Island||Mason, Ohio, USA||264 feet (80 m)||315 feet (96 m)||Intamin||N/A|
|Big Tower||Beto Carrero World||Penha, Santa Catarina, Brazil||264 feet (80 m)||328 feet (100 m)||Intamin||N/A|
|10.||Fritt Fall||Gröna Lund||Stockholm, Sweden||262 feet (80 m)||328 feet (100 m)||Intamin||N/A|
* denotes that the drop tower is scheduled currently under construction.
- Big Shot on the top of the Stratosphere Las Vegas reaching 1,081 feet (329 m) was the highest situated drop tower ride in the world, with a drop of 160 feet (49 m) to a base 921 feet (281 m) above ground level
- Space Probe located at Wonderland Sydney in Australia
- The Cliff Hanger located at Cliffs Amusement park
- Drop Tower: Scream Zone at five Cedar Fair parks
- Oh-Zone! Located at Lake Winnepesaukah
- Super Shot often found at Midway
- Volcanic Eruption at Fantasy Island, Skegness
- Apocalypse at Drayton Manor
- Detonator at Thorpe Park
- Tango Ice Blast at Pleasure Beach Blackpool
- Scream Machine at Coney Island
- Drop Zone at Alabama Splash Adventure
- Atmosfear at Morey's Piers, Wildwood, New Jersey
- The Megadrop owned by RCS Fair Rides
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at multiple Disney parks worldwide.
- Scream! at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags New England
- Dominator at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
- EKstreme at Enchanted Kingdom (Laguna, Philippines)
- Supreme Scream at Knott's Berry Farm
- Doctor Doom's FearFall at Islands of Adventure
- The High Fall at Movie Park Germany
- Drop Dead at the London Dungeon
- Det gyldne tårn ("The Golden Tower") at Tivoli Gardens
- UFO Adventures at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
- Acrophobia at Six Flags Over Georgia
- Gyro Drop at Lotte World
- Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! at Disney California Adventure Park
Injuries and accidents
- Following the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom incident, all the towers were closed and the Carowinds model was found to have "stretched" cables.
- On February 24, 2012, 14-year-old Gabriella Yukari Nichimura died in an accident at Hopi Hari, Vinhedo, São Paulo State, Brazil. She fell from the drop tower ride "La Tour Eiffel" suffering cranial trauma and died on the way to the hospital. Local police are investigating the accident. Initial investigations suggest the possibility of mechanical failure in the restraint latch.
- Ride with 95cm height requirement
- Ride with 130cm height requirement
- "Det gyldne tårn". Tivoli. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "Carowinds thrill ride closed for inspection". (Wire Report). The Herald Online. June 22, 2007. Archived from the original on 2016-02-08. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- "Adolescente more após acidente em parque de diversões no interior de SP". Retrieved 2012-02-24.