Slingshot Ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Ride Type: Slingshot
Manufacturer: Funtime Group
Year Built: 2012
Work on the Slingshot ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain began quietly in the back of the park in late 2012. There was no official announcement from the park about what it was going to be, however there was a stack of ride parts that had been sitting very close to the site for quite sometime that gave it away. It was a Slingshot ride. The ride was built extremely fast, at least compared to a roller coaster, and opened to the public on December 15, 2012.
Slingshots are manufactured by an Australian company called Funtime Group. Six Flags Magic Mountain partnered with a U.S. company called Ride Entertainment Systems to acquire and install the Slingshot ride. This is the same company that Six Flags Magic Mountain partnered with on their existing Skycoaster ride Dare Devil Dive, as well as the former S&S Power Sky Sling ride they had that was known as Thrill Shot.
The Slingshot is very simple in design, but that doesn’t mean that it falls short on the thrill level. There are two 130′ towers that each connect to a single two-passenger capsule with steel cables. Using high-compression springs, the capsule is launched high into the air, causing the capsule to bounce and spin, until all of the energy is released and it’s lowered back down.
The ride is located in the very back of the park, in Cyclone Bay, next to the entrance to Apocalypse. As seem from above, the two towers are very colorful:
A closer view shows the rider capsule sitting in the middle of a red & white bullseye-like graphic. The main ride operator’s panel is located in that small fenced off area towards the lower-right of the concrete area. A secondary ride op panel is located in the corner of the larger fenced area in the top of the picture:
Other than all the guy-wires that are necessary to stabilize the towers, the ride looks decent as you approach it. They did a good job at planting some new trees and bushes around the ride and over time they should fill in the area nicely:
Each tower has a massive base unit that is firmly attached to concrete footers, so they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon:
This is the entrance on the front of the ride:
I took these photos before the ride opened for the day. They were doing some training, just in case you were wondering why there were so many employees around.
Here’s the mandatory warning sign:
The primary ride op is located behind the capsule, and the secondary is located in the front:
The ride capsule seats two people and I found it to be quite comfortable. The over the shoulder restraint is very snug, but there weren’t any strong forces during the ride like you sometimes get during coaster inversions. When sitting at rest, the capsule is level:
The clear shields you see on the sides are to prevent your arms from getting caught in the cables as the capsule is spinning in flight. The protruding yellow shaft between the riders is a video camera mount. The cabling was there, but no camera yet. I imagine you will eventually be able to buy a video of yourself on the ride:
The magic that makes this ride work so well is called the spring propulsion machine. Those silver cylinders are high-tension springs that create up to 40 tons of force when extended. Once released, that energy transfers to the cables, which in turn propel the capsule skyward. This is what the springs look like in Stage 1, when at rest with no tension on the cables:
As the springs are extended, the tension tightens up the cables and the capsule is tilted back, held in place with a high-power magnetic lock at the base of the capsule:
During Stage 2, the springs are fully extended, building up the forces that will launch the capsule up as soon as the magnetic lock is released. The ride operator has the ability to set the ride to 50%, 75%, or 100% power, depending on the riders and their weight. For example, if they’re small children, it would likely get set to 50% power:
Once the springs are at full power, the magnetic lock is released and the capsule sets sail. The total height of the capsule varies due to various factors, but it’s usually between 200-230′ high:
The capsule is meant to spin, and you can somewhat control it with the position of your legs. If you kick them out or pull them in at the right time, you can either help it spin or prevent it from spinning. I think I had either 3 or 4 spins during my ride:
I watched several people ride this and everyone single one of them absolutely loved it. Like this lady, and myself, they all had huge smiles on their faces when the ride was over:
At launch, or Stage 3, the top of the springs unit stays in place and the bottom section is released. It slides up and down as the capsule bounces, until all of the energy has been expended. When done, it’s left looking like this, with the capsule hanging up in the air:
As the springs are lowered in the spring machine, it gently lowers the capsule:
Here you can see the springs being lowered back into Stage 1, at the bottom:
Once the ride is over, but before the capsule is all the way back down, the ride operator moves over to the landing pad and uses a foot pedal to slowly bring the capsule the rest of the way down. This helps him line up the capsule and lock it onto the magnet:
This is what the two pieces look like that connect and secure the capsule to the ground:
The two flanges on the sides not only help line up the capsule for a perfect landing, but they are also a secondary safety system. A pin goes through the holes in the flanges to physically secure the capsule to the base. Even if the magnetic lock were to be disengaged during this time, the capsule would still be secure and not go anywhere:
This is the capsule fully engaged and locked onto the landing pad:
Once secure, the remaining tension in the cables is released and the capsule rotates forward, resting on those two small posts you see in the previous photo:
This is the capsule at rest as seen from the side:
All of those white bumps you see all over the capsule are lights. This ride is supposed to put on quite a light show at night. I’ll have to try and get some shots of that in the future.
This is an upcharge attraction, meaning that it is not included with the price of your park admission. There is an additional fee required to ride it. It costs $30 for a single rider or $40 for two riders. If you are a Season Pass holder, you can get two riders for only $30. Tickets are sold in the Epic Rides gift shop, located just in front of the Slingshot ride.
I would like to extend my personal thank you to both Mario B., the ride supervisor, and Six Flags Magic Mountain, for providing me with a promotional flight on Slingshot so that I could properly evaluate it. It’s an extremely fun ride and if you ever have the opportunity to ride it, I highly suggest that you do so.
Here is a video I shot of the Slingshot ride from start to finish: