Drop tower

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The High Fall at Movie Park Germany
A drop tower at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk entitled the "Double Shot"

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,[1] and a 115-foot (35 m) tower having a 51-inch (130 cm) restriction.[2]

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.

As of July 2014, the longest drop is at Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Great Adventure, at 415 feet (126 m).

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][citation needed]

Ride designs[edit]

Mass-produced tower rides include:

ABC rides also manufacture mini drop towers, especially enclosed dark rides such as 'Drop Dead' at the London Dungeon.


Tallest vertical drop towers[edit]

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.

Other examples[edit]

Injuries and accidents[edit]

  • Following the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom incident, all the towers were closed and the Carowinds model was found to have "stretched" cables.[5]
  • 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.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ride with 95cm height requirement
  2. ^ Ride with 130cm height requirement
  3. ^ https://headrushtech.com/flightline-free-fall-ride/
  4. ^ "Det gyldne tårn". Tivoli. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ "Adolescente more após acidente em parque de diversões no interior de SP". Retrieved 2012-02-24. 

External links[edit]