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2 new rides at Knoebels Amusement Resort still need some work

Patriot News

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May 18, 2011

Two major new rides are still being worked and will not be ready for the public when Knoebels Amusement Resort in Northumberland County, Pa., opens for daily operation this month, kicking off its 85th season. 

The Flying Turns roller coaster and the Black Diamond, a ride through a simulated coal breaker, still are a work in progress, co-owner Dick Knoebel said. No date has been set for their completion. 

The park — which has been open only on weekends since April — will begin daily operations on May 25 and has other roller coasters, including the Phoenix and Twister. 

The Flying Turns, a wooden roller coaster that is 1,500 feet long and 50 feet high, has encountered several problems since construction began in April 2006. 

The ride, which resembles a luge chute with raised sides but no tracks, is patterned after one that was in a Chicago park in the 1930s, Knoebel said. Regulations require heavier cars, which resemble bobsleds, than what were used back then, he explained. 

Redesigned cars manufactured in Texas should arrive soon for additional tests, he said. 

Knoebel is not speculating when the Flying Turns will open, but said he has “high hopes” it will be this season. “I’m determined,” he said. 

Construction of the Black Diamond, referred to as a dark ride, has been slowed by weather, but Knoebel said he hopes it will be completed by mid-season. It is patterned after the former Golden Nugget ride at Wildwood, N.J. 

The Knoebels version is in a three-story, simulated coal breaker with riders facing fallen timbers and explosions as they drop from floor to floor before exiting. 

The track came from Wildwood, but the cars have been remanufactured and equipped with seat belts to bring them into compliance with current regulations, he said. 

This season also marks new smoking restrictions. As part of “our clean air commitment,” smoking will be limited to nine areas in the park and one in the pool designated by blue benches, Knoebel said. 

In the past, smoking was permitted except in lines and in the dining and children ride areas.


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