Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Bill Kitchen reaches for the Sky

Attractions inventor Bill Kitchen has conceived a dramatic new sightseeing ride which, in theory, could be built almost 1km tall. S

SkySpire by US Thrill Rides is a tower that can rise from to heights of between 250 to over 3,000ft (76 to 914m) providing passengers with unique 360-degree panoramic views as they spiral down around the outside of the structure.

The SkySpire is envisioned with one or more floors of enclosed observation and/or retail space at the pinnacle. Patrons will ride to the top of the tower inside fully enclosed climate controlled gondolas, or in a glass elevator through the centre of the tower. At the top they can exit to enjoy views, before spiralling gently back to earth.

“This is a totally unique and affordable for attraction operators,” says Kitchen, whose earlier experience with broadcast antenna towers inspired his desire to build very tall observation rides with a smaller footprint to Ferris Wheels. “Most of all, SkySpire will be a guest experience that will fully deliver the value of any interesting view.”

Capacity will be delivered according to customer requirements, but gondolas will available carrying between 6 and 20 passengers and anything from 20 to 200 gondolas can be supplied per ride. Transit time is variable depending on height and speed, from 10 to 30 minutes. This will deliver hourly capacity of anything from 1,000 to 3,000 people per hour. There will be continuous walk-on/walk-off loading and unloading, on both the ground levels and observation levels.

Several theme parks and other venues have already shown an interest in SkySpire, though Kitchen is careful not to reveal the location or timing of the first construction: “We will leave that to the direction of our developers,” he says. He does mention that his first SkyQuest suspended beam ride system has been purchased and will be going into the Indianapolis Zoo next year.

The two new attractions follows US Thrill Rides’ patent pending SkyView observation wheel, now under exclusive licence to Circle Entertainment, which wants to build an Eye-branded wheel on International Drive in Orlando in partnership with Merlin Entertainments.

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