Riverview Flying Cars - No injuries... yet.

A lot of my friends' parents talk with moist-eyed happiness about Riverview Park, a Chicago amusement park that existed from 1904 to 1967. Life ran this page about the Flying Cars ride in 1957. The safety precautions of the time are slightly hilarious.
Click on the picture for a high resolution version you can read for yourself. The ride worked like this: the drum was motorized and the cars were freewheeling, held onto the drum by a flanged rail and floating clamp system. The drum rotates up to speed and the cars let it roll beneath their wheels. Then, the cars' brakes are applied, quickly accelerating up to the 30mph speed of the drum's surface. Patrons spin around the drum for two minutes before the brakes are released, letting the cars wobble to a standstill while the drum also slows to a halt.

Looking at the thing, I'm amazed that no one was hurt (according to the article, which is according to the park, which is not likely to publicize any injuries). The patrons are asked to keep their hands inside, just like any roller coaster, but look how easily some idiot could reach down and grab the car's wheel. The people are "tightly strapped in" by one belt across their stomachs. Their heads are free to flop around well above the body of the car, enjoying zero neck supprt. When the brakes are engaged and the cars accelerate, what happens to your neck? Maybe it's a trick of perspective, but it looks like those waiting in line seem really close to the machine itself.

These are not complaints. I'm in favor of people with poor judgement being allowed to horribly mutilate themselves in public for the greater good. It's just that, from the perspective of a person used to having a yellow padded horse collar drop down over my head whenever I got on the Shockwave, the Flying Cars ride looks really... what's the word?... "homebrewed", like something a guy would build next to his doublewide, without any oversight or forethought. It not only looks homebrewed, but also "home-investigated-by the-local-authorities", "home-subpoena'd", and "home-subsequently-serving-time-at-a-state-run-facility'd."


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