Flying Machines’ Nate Morrell talks massive Black Mamba coaster
Nate Morrell, CEO of Flying Machines Inc., is the designer of Black Mamba, the newest, scariest, most horrifying roller coaster in the world. Set to open at Adventureland in Virginia this summer, Black Mamba will surely be the coaster all others are measured against. We recently caught up with Nate to ask him some questions about his coaster company and his design philosophies. Thanks to Nate taking the time to answer our questions.
C101: You’ve taken the amusement park world by storm. What’s the secret to the Flying Machines’ success?
Nate: We’ve pushed the envelope by creating coaster experiences that are above and beyond the first hill. We refuse to rely solely on gravity and kinetic energy to power our beasts. At different points along the ride – unexpected points – engineered electromagnets take over and propel the train forward just when it is starting to get exhausted. Riders expect speed when rocketing down a huge drop, but they don’t expect them in a straight tunnel.
C101: Why do none of your coasters have inversions?
Nate: I don’t believe in them. I think inversions have been overused in the past two decades and they’re kinda boring. I’m a traditionalist – roller coasters should be ridden with eyes forward and upright. And because we have no inversions we have no need for over-the-shoulder “head banger” harnesses either
C101: Why do you like designing roller coasters? What is it you enjoy most about it?
Nate: Well, it’s not just that I love scaring people – I love giving them what they want and then some. I relish seeing the look on the faces of riders as they disembark, enjoy hearing their sighs of relief.
C101: What’s it like when one of your monstrous creations is about to be unleashed?
Nate: This stuff is exciting – but also nerve wracking as hell.
C101: Why did you name your newest creation Black Mamba?
Nate: The black mamba is the world’s most dangerous snake, a snake that possesses enough venom at any one time to kill twenty men in one measly hour, a snake that is one of the fastest in the world, able to slither at speeds of twenty kilometers per hour. Most people couldn’t outrun such a creature – one that can grow to eight feet in length.
C101: What makes the new Black Mamba roller coaster so special?
Nate: The first hill is 400 feet tall. It’s got the scariest drop ever designed. The second hill is taller than most at 250 feet. But the tunnel is the ultimate. The trains will careen along in pitch darkness for a full two miles. Oh, did I mention the top speed is 100 mph?
C101: Do you think that roller coaster designs are getting out of control? Are they pushing the limits too far?
Nate: No, I don’t. I think the designs over the last 200 years reflected the knowledge, skill and education that existed at the time. So, “pushing the limits” is a relative term – relative to what we know A coaster manufactured 100 years ago was probably considered ‘out of control’ at that time but it wasn’t at all. It was in line with what knowledge the manufactures had when it was built – very much the same as today. Roller coasters have evolved to a level that couldn’t have been imagined decades ago.
I hope you enjoyed this fictional interview with the main character from Serpentine, a thrilling book by Peter Parkin and Alison Darby. As you might expect in a fictional story about a roller coaster – the Blank Mamba crashes in a horrible accident. Just like the coaster, the story takes a couple of crazy turns: it goes from media day for a super-sized roller coaster, to a crazy terrorist/government conspiracy theory.
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