An Inside Look at Skyline Attractions’ New “Horizon” & “Eclipse”

It was a busy IAAPA Expo last week for Skyline Attractions. Not only did the unveil the lead car for their first ever Skywarp, Harley Quinn Crazy Train at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, but they also debuted two new models for future attractions; Horizon and Eclipse. We had the opportunity to chat with Skyline Design Engineer Adam Yerdon about these two new attraction concepts during the expo, and also got a brief update on the progress of Harley Quinn!

C101: Let’s talk about these two concept models on the sides of your booth, we’ll start with Horizon. How did the concept come about?

Adam Yerdon: Last year at IAAPA, we introduced Skywarp to the public. It was a huge hit – in fact, we sold one to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for 2018. So we said, alright, well, we really want to bring that back to the show, but our company mission is to bring something new to IAAPA every single year. So how do we do that if we’re already bringing a Skywarp, which is an “old” model at this point, at one year old?

We thought about it and asked ourselves “What makes Skywarp so unique?” And it’s the interacting trains. You have a dueling train on a single track. We get a lot of requests from customers who say, we want Skywarp, but we want it bigger. Or we don’t have enough room for a Skywarp, because we own this big mega-mall, and we have to fit under a 30’ ceiling.

We said, what can we do in that same tradition as Skywarp? Something that would feel like that same family but would fit inside? That’s where Horizon came about. Something that’s very small, fits in a 55’x120’ space, still lives under that 30’ ceiling, but is still awesome. It’s a thrill ride. It’s a roller coaster. It has that corkscrew with an airtime hill right over the top of it. And that’s ultimately how Horizon came to be.

C101: How does that footprint compare to Skywarp’s?

AY: Skywarp is 30’x120’, so Horizon is a little bit wider, but the cool part about Horizon is that you can actually fit two flat rides inside of the loops. So it’s a space saver.

C101: Is the target audience for Skywarp and Horizon the same? Kind of the thrill seeker, or is Horizon a different audience because it’s not as tall?

AY: You would think that. But we’re actually going to be launching you around these really tight hairpin curves, and through the inversion. So I think we’re going to have ultimately that same “thrill seeker” appeal for both models.

C101: And regarding Eclipse, was it kind of that same mindset – “We want Skywarp, but don’t have the right real estate for it?”

AY: Honestly, the whole idea with how Eclipse came about is because people looked at Skywarp, and said “Oh, 62’ tall, that’s cool…but can you make it bigger?” And we said, “Absolutely we can make it bigger!” So, we went 100’ tall for Eclipse, and it still has the dueling interaction of the trains.

The unique thing about Eclipse is that it’s actually a racing and a dueling coaster. The two trains race each other up into the inversion, and then roll through each other, and then flip to the other side of the track. It’s a totally unique experience that can’t be found anywhere.

C101: What’s the footprint for Eclipse?

AY: 60’ wide by 130’ long, and it’s 100’ tall.

C101: As you hear “Can we go bigger” or “Can we go smaller,” did the shape ideas for Horizon and Eclipse come from the “Mojito Meetings” that we talked about in our interview with Chris Gray?

AY: I would say yes. That’s the definitely the case. Our customers are definitely the best sounding board on how we’re doing. We can come up with cool ideas but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll work. It’s one of those where we listen to our customers, we deliver for our customers what they’re ultimately looking for. You want something bigger? Oh okay, well how about this? Oh I love it! What else can you do? And that’s what drives the next “thing.” We deliver something that really delivers that “wow” factor and then they come back and tell us, “give us more, give us more.”

C101: If you had to rank the three models on an intensity scale 1, 2 and 3, how would you rank them?

AY: In my mind, I honestly think intensity is based off of size – Horizon 1, Skywarp 2, and Eclipse 3. However, the lowest intensity in this case isn’t exactly “not intense.” That’s the best part about this whole family. The long train really drives a certain amount of intensity out of it just to begin with. They’re going to be so much fun.

C101: Are there any similar track designs in the works for the future?

AY: We’re always working through new things. There are things that didn’t make the cut, but that’s all part of it. You definitely want to put your best foot forward. Everyone in the office comes up with some sort of idea, and we’ll sit there and debate and refine it. Ultimately, that leads to a top-notch product.

C101: Finally, can you update us a little bit on the process for Harley Quinn Crazy Train? When we last talked, the plan was to assemble it in Florida before shipping it to Six Flags. How is everything coming along?

AY: That’s still the case. Everything is in process right now. The track is in fabrication by Rocky Mountain Construction. We did the centerline work, we did all the design work for the track, but they’re just so good at putting track together, that we couldn’t say no. The columns are in production from another company out in California. Everything else is being put together in-house. We’re going to take the entire ride, build it in our parking lot, just so we can ensure that we are delivering Six Flags the absolute best product that we can give them. If there’s some sort of inconsistency that the computer didn’t catch, we can catch it in the field and make that refinement before it ever makes it out to Six Flags.

Thanks to Adam for his time. For more information, be sure to check out Skyline Attractions’ website!

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