Las Vegas roller coaster undergoes safety testing (with video)

Safety testing is underway on the Adventuredome’s new roller coaster, El Loco. The crazy coaster will run about 2,000 test cycles before opening to the public in late January 2014.

Up close with El Loco (Photo by Aleza Freeman).

As ride engineers work out the final kinks, the ride is being tested with (and sometimes without) water dummies — each weighing about 185-190 pounds. The test dummies are placed in different configurations in the individual four-seat cars (six of which can run at one time) then sent through the twists and turns of the 72-second ride, which reaches speeds of 45 miles per hour.

Manufacturer testing requires 50 to 100 cycles per car, and the Adventuredome is doing 100 for El Loco. “We always go overboard,” explained Tom Nolan, the theme park’s vice president. “We’ve done that with all our rides.”

Nolan described the challenge of moving large cranes through the tight spaces of Adventuredome, and compared constructing El Loco to building a ship in a bottle.

Considering the Adventuredome is surrounded by glass, the analogy isn’t too far off!

Unlike the Adventuredome’s existing roller coaster, the Canyon Blaster, El Loco’s seat has a lap bar rather than an over-the-shoulder brace. While El Loco goes slightly slower than the Canyon Blaster’s maximum speed, its tight outwardly banked turns, backwards dive and barrel roll make it an aptly named ride.

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