The Gravitron can be found in countries all over the world and was first manufactured by Wisdom USA in 1983 and is now their number one seller. Several units were also made under license by ARM (UK) and Ferrari (Australia) in the 1980’s. Nowdays, Wisdom brands this ride “Starship 3000″
The ride movement can be summed up two words: centrifugal force - all 4 G’s of it pushing the standards of safe amusement ride physics. This was not the first ride to use centrifugal laws to pin its standing occupants - other prior examples include the Rotor and Roundup
When the automated door closes the fun really begins - riders barely realise they’re moving (everything they can see is moving with them). The ride quickly starts to rotate reaching its top speed of 24 rpm in less than 20 seconds. (fast given its wide diameter). At this speed (turned with a 33kW 3-phase motor), the 45 panels that riders stand against rise upwards leaving people stuck to the wall with their feet off the ground. Regular riders will always move into position as the ride gains speed, sometimes turning sideways or upside down.
Similar forces are achieved from NASA astronaut experiments simulating rocket take off and space travel G-Forces.
The recommended ride time is no longer than 80 seconds.
Since the amount of G’s felt by a rider corresponds with body weight, most adult riders feel G’s exerted on the chest and face a little too uncomfortable to be called fun (they always breathe a sigh of relief when the brakes come on) but ask any kid or teenager what they think of it and they’ll excitedly tell you how many times they’ve ridden it and how totally fantastic it was… the sight of a person lying on a wall sideways or upside-down is always a memorable one!
The interior of the ride consists of a central, circular control / supervisor booth with a futuristic swivelling chair over the centre axis of the ship. This small section is designed for the operator who rotates with the ride, although safe from any G-force. (being in the very centre) This section is usually surrounded by flashing lights, with a few disco lights on top - creating a really good ride atmosphere. Surrounding the sides of the flying-saucer ship are 45 padded vertical panels, each the height and width of an average human body. These panels are angled slightly outward, making them nearly vertical. Each panel is on a set of rollers, and with the laws of centrifugal force, naturally rises upwards when the optimum speed is reached. Since the ride is completely enclosed, some units have surveillance cameras installed, with monitor screens on the outside giving spectators outside the ship a visual of what’s happening inside the ride.
Gravitron’s huge capacity of 45 people, and the ease at which it can be loaded / unloaded (simply by walking in) gives it a great theoretical capacity of 1000 people / hour. The ride can be racked on one 50ft trailer, making it one of the most well designed amusement ride ever produced as far as portability / rider capacity is concerned.
The ride can be set up in 6 hours, and torn down in 3 with an experienced crew.
There are upwards of 40 units in North America, at least 5 in Europe and approximately 7 Gravitrons in Australia.