Led Zeppelin: The Ride

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Led Zeppelin: The Ride was a steel roller coaster that once operated at Hard Rock Park (now Freestyle Music Park) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The coaster ride, manufactured by the Swiss consortium Bolliger & Mabillard, commenced business to the public on 15 April 2008, during the Hard Rock Park's sound check 'soft opening.' The attraction was officially launched with the park's Grand Opening on 9 May 2008.[1]

Ride layout

Reputedly the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the Carolinas, Led Zeppelin: The Ride featured six inversions: a vertical loop, a cobra roll, a zero-g roll, another vertical loop and a corkscrew, after the block brake.

The nosecones of the trains were designed to replicate the shape of a zeppelin airship. Each train held thirty-two guests (four wide, eight rows) and was equipped with onboard audio, including 64 speakers and 1200 watts per train. The trains had eight cars, one row each and four seats across per row, for a total of thirty-two seats per train.[2] As the train travelled the course, customers were able to listen to Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' via the built-in stereo loudspeakers.

Once the train departed from the station, it progressed up the chain lift on the 155 ft (47.2 m) mount, then descended down a 150 ft (45.7 m) incline. It emerged out of the drop into the first of the coaster's two vertical loops, followed by a 95 ft (28.9 m) cobra roll. Next it advanced through a 75 ft (22.9 m) zero-g roll. Following this was the second vertical loop, proceeded by a grandiose helix. After the mid-course brakes were applied, and another smaller helix encountered, the train went through a corkscrew and ended with a helix. Reaching speeds of 65 mph (104.6 kmh), the total track length was 3,738 feet (1.13 km), with a portion of the coaster racing over water, and the combined total weight of the track and structure was approximately 1.2 million pounds (544.3 tonnes).

Final run and renaming

Due to the downturn in the economy, in late January 2009, the park filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. On 4 May 2009, the ride was renamed 'The Time Machine'. The new ride playing a song from each decade from the 1960s to the present with each run. The 'zeppelin' painted red to resemble a time machine.[3]