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|Previously known as "The Coaster"|
|Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom|
|Location||Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom|
|Opening date||March 30, 1924|
|Manufacturer||Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters|
|Designer||Herbert Paul Schmeck|
|Track layout||Out and Back / Twister|
|Lift/launch system||Chain lift hill|
|Height||80 ft (24 m)|
|Drop||65 ft (20 m)|
|Length||2,767 ft (843 m)|
|Speed||45 mph (72 km/h)|
|Max vertical angle||45°|
|Height restriction||48 in (122 cm)|
|Trains||2 trains with 4 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 3 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.|
Fast Lane available
| Thunderhawk at RCDB |
Pictures of Thunderhawk at RCDB
Thunderhawk is a wooden roller coaster with an out-and-back layout located at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Originally opening as The Coaster in 1924, Thunderhawk is the oldest operating roller coaster in the Cedar Fair chain and one of the oldest in the world still in operation. It was manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and designed by Herbert Paul Schmeck, who studied under the legendary John A. Miller and went on to mentor another well-renowned designer, John C. Allen.
Thunderhawk was designed by Herbert Paul Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters. When Thunderhawk opened on March 30,1924 and for many years after the ride was known simply as the Coaster. The Coaster was renamed Thunderhawk with the addition of the Hercules roller coaster to the park in 1989.
Originally, the Coaster was built as an out-and-back coaster, meaning it went straight out from the first drop, turned around and came straight back. The ride was reconfigured in 1930 to its present design with a figure-eight twister section in the middle of the ride. Over the years, the ride has seen many cosmetic changes. At one point the ride featured a bright yellow paint job, which has since been painted over with an off-white color.
The original station pavilion featured a separate bumper car ride, around which wrapped the line for the Coaster, providing some entertainment to those waiting in line. Originally, the ride began with a tunneled section and ended with another tunneled section, as the train went under the portion of the pavilion devoted to the bumper cars. However, the bumper cars were removed following Cedar Fair's purchase of the park in 1993, leaving the tunnel that began the ride as an open concrete trench. In addition, a set of brakes was placed in the middle of the return bunny hills causing the train to slow down and lose much of its trademark airtime.
The Thunderhawk structure was maintained by carpenter Paul Hottenstein, nicknamed "Shorty" from 1961 until his sudden death in the winter of 2001. A plaque in the ride's station honors him and his work on the ride.
Thunderhawk continues to be one of the park's most popular and beloved rides. To this day, it remains a classic example of an early American wooden roller coaster.
For the 2016 season, Dorney Park announced major renovations to Thunderhawk. Among the changes were new trains designed by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters,featuring an open-air design, with individual ratcheting lap bars (as opposed to the previous "buzz bars"). The ride also received a new white coat of paint, reminiscent of the coaster's original color and a new white lighting package to outline the entire ride.
In 2021, the American Coaster Enthusiasts gave Thunderhawk an ACE Coaster Landmark plaque.
A wooden roller coaster is a type of roller coaster classified by its wooden track, which consists of running rails made of flattened steel strips mounted on laminated wood. The support structure is also typically made of wood, but may also be made of steel lattice or truss, which has no bearing on a wooden coaster's classification. The type of wood often selected in the construction of wooden coasters worldwide is southern yellow pine, which grows abundantly in the southern United States, due to its density and adherence to different forms of pressure treatment.
Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC) is one of the oldest existing roller coaster manufacturing companies in the world. Based in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, it was established in 1904 by Henry Auchey and Chester Albright under the name Philadelphia Toboggan Company. The company manufactured carousels, wooden roller coasters, toboggans and later, roller coaster trains.
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Thunder Road was a wooden roller coaster located at Carowinds amusement park on the border between Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Opened in 1976 and built by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, the racing roller coaster cost $1.6 million to construct and featured two identical tracks that paralleled each other. The design of the ride was based on Rebel Yell, a wooden racing coaster at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia. Thunder Road was closed on July 26, 2015, to make room for expansion at the park. On August 27, 2015, Carowinds announced that the Boomerang Bay waterpark would be expanded and renamed Carolina Harbor. The expansion resulted in the removal of Thunder Road.
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The Wild Cat, originally named The Joy Ride, was a wooden roller coaster located at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The roller coaster was constructed in 1923 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC). Under an agreement between Hersheypark and PTC, Hersheypark leased the land the coaster occupied, while PTC owned and operated the coaster. The agreement was for 15 years, at which point they had the option to extend the contract. The contract was ultimately extended to 1945. The roller coaster operated from June 16, 1923, through September 1945. PTC and Hershey Park elected to close The Wild Cat and construct a new roller coaster in 1946.
Herbert Paul Schmeck was an American roller coaster designer. From 1923 to 1955, Schmeck designed 84 coasters for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. As a designer and president, the company became the most prominent manufacturer of roller coasters in the United States.
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Hercules was a wooden roller coaster located at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Manufactured by the Dinn Corporation and designed by Curtis D. Summers, the roller coaster opened to the public on May 6, 1989. It set a world record for having the longest drop on a wooden coaster at 151 feet (46 m), surpassing the previous record of 147 feet (45 m) set by American Eagle in 1981. Hercules was the third wooden coaster to be constructed at the park. A scenic railway operated at Dorney from 1905 to 1912. The park's existing wooden coaster, known simply as "Coaster" opened in 1924 and was remodeled in 1930. With the opening of Hercules, the existing coaster was given a formal name — Thunderhawk.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is an American amusement and water park owned and operated by Cedar Fair and located in between Allentown and Emmaus, Pennsylvania. The park features seven roller coasters, other adult and children's rides, and a waterpark, Wildwater Kingdom.
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D. H. Morgan Manufacturing, later simply known as Morgan, was a manufacturer of roller coaster trains, custom amusement rides, roller coasters, children's rides and other amusement devices. Founded in 1983, the company was originally headquartered in Scotts Valley, California. In 1991, the company moved to La Selva Beach, California, and into a new 55,000-square-foot indoor manufacturing facility. That facility was later increased to 75,000 square feet. The company produced a variety of rides from 1983 until 2001, but is probably best known for its steel hyper coasters.
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The Comet is a wooden roller coaster located at Waldameer Park in Erie, Pennsylvania, United States. It was designed by Herbert Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1951. It is similar to other Schmeck-designed PTC junior wooden coasters which feature a layered, figure-8/oval layout. However, the Comet is taller than the previous junior wooden coaster designs. The Comet is an ACE Coaster Classic.
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