We were invited to a construction tour at Busch Gardens Williamsburg on Saturday March 21st, 2015. Rumors abound as to what exactly they were building, and since the construction is right next to Apollo's Chariot, it was impossible to hide.
The park did its best, erecting a large blue wall around the construction site and on this day there were suddenly signs nailed all over the fence. Although the 154 foot high barrel roll had left no doubt that Busch Gardens Williamsburg was building it's sixth roller coaster, the site work and foundations were hidden by the fence, though you could look down and see the construction from Apollo's Chariot.
Park President Carl Lum, Engineering Vice President Larry Giles and Operations Vice President Mark Pauls conducted the tour and answered questions.
The event was well attended, with a wide variety of news outlets represented. We were all wearing very stylish bright orange Tempesto hardhats.
While the track work was complete, workers will be putting in some long hours to finish the rest of the project by April 25th, 2015. There is still a lot of painting to be done.
Light strands will be strung from these poles as part of the place making, the theming even includes fancy "old" looking light bulbs throughout the station.
Bright new colors will liven up Festa Italia, even on the older buildings surrounding their newest attraction. Much paint and new canvas will enhance the atmosphere.
This angle shows how, unlike it's neighboring coaster Apollo's Chariot's sprawling layout, Tempesto has a very compact the footprint. Riders will experience launches both forwards and backwards during the 55 second ride.
And here you can almost feel it touching the clouds, well not really. But when you do that 154 foot roll over, you will feel the height of Tempesto.
Tempesto wouldn't be placed in Busch Gardens Williamsburg without the little details that make it beautiful, for the park is annually awarded many accolades for its heavily themed atmosphere.
The many lengths and varied diameter of the track sections resemble an intricate erector set,
and, the bright, bold colors are visually pleasing.
So, who wants to do the stress analysis for this part of the structure. Any takers?
The nose art is reminiscent of the way old pilots used to paint their planes. The blue track should contrast nicely with the train.
And, on this day workers were performing some test launch bumps. It was very exciting and some those in attendance boldly volunteered to be "test dummies!" Eventually the train will accelerate to 63 mph, just 5 feet away from the next group of daredevils. The anticipated throughput should be in excess of 600 people per hour.
While a transfer table was considered to allow for two trains, it was decided instead to use a three car train for increased up time. If you look closely, you can see that the train floor is level with the station which speed guests entering and leaving the trains. But the weight of the longer train created another consideration...
Twin stators were require for the linear synchronous launch system to have enough power to launch the heavier train.
Instead of ordering a custom floor plan, the location of the whole ride was adjusted to avoid any conflicts with Apollo's Chariot substructure. The entirely separate foundations ensure that neither ride will affect the other. The yellow support is from Apollo's Chariot.
One of the many test launches the work crew performed for the tour group, the train has just left the station and is beginning it's climb.
It was very exciting to watch the train launch out of the station and up the first hill, then stall and roll back into the station. Extensive testing with different load patterns should commence shortly, and once Premier does their tests it's Engineering's turn, and finally Busch Garden Williamsburg employees will actually get paid to ride when Operations completes their testing. What a great perk!
This view is from the entrance plaza of the France parking lot, and the trees frame the installation quite nicely.
After the tour was over we were escorted over to the San Marco theater in Busch Gardens’ Festa Italia where the season pass holders were given the details about Tempesto. And after telling the excited passholders that they would be able to ride it on 4/25/2015, Carl Lum then treated everybody in attendance to free gelato.