Motion System Design

Twisting and turning on the track

It's not the tallest or the fastest roller coaster in the world, but it just may be the most fun, thanks in part to the linear synchronous motors that drive it. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, opened yet another new ride in 2007. Maverick, a $21 million twisting, turning, high-speed ride, races across more than 4,400 ft of steel track spanning 5.5 acres.

Maverick is built by IntaRide LLC, Glen Burnie, Md., which also designed and built the park's Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster, both which topped the record charts in their opening years for highest hills and fastest speeds. The company was one of the first to use linear synchronous motors (LSMs) to magnetically propel roller coaster trains on the track. It remains one of the few that continues to use such technology on its roller coasters.

After riders board the steam-era-style trains, they are propelled up the first 105-ft hill by 109 LSMs (manufactured by Integral Drive System AG), reaching top speeds of 40 ft/sec. Riders can feel the magnetic power of the motors as soon as the first car's magnetic plates touch the first LSM. The cars jettison up the track, to plunge 100 ft at a 95° drop (5° steeper than straight down) at speeds of 57 mph.

For the remaining 2.5 min, the train coasts around small hills, twists, and turns that include a twisted horseshoe roll that combines two 360° corkscrew rolls around a 72° banked turn.

The cars slow as they reach a dark and dramatic 400-ft tunnel, coming nearly to a complete stop before they encounter another 79 LSMs that launch the train forward, this time at speeds up to 70 mph, before the final thrill of a few more twists and turns.

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