Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Blast From The Past - Bisch Rocco Flying Scooters

Bisch Rocco Flying Scooters have been around for over three quarters of a century, not bad for ride with such a simple concept. While the ride rotates in a circle, riders are able to fly controlling their own scooter tub, with the tubs movable front sail. The scooters were available in either eight or ten tub models, with the tubs, suspended from an overhead support structure by a cable system.

The Flying Scooter has its roots in other amusement rides of the early 1900s including Harry Traver's Circle Swing. Traver's swing involved a similar rotating flight experience, but without the interactivity of Bisch's creation.

Alvin Bisch created the Flying Scooter in the early 1930s, with early prototypes built as airplane pilot training devices. The first scooter model to bear a resemblance to today's tubs was patented in 1939. The original application date was July 21, 1934.

It wasn't long before Bisch and his business partner Ralph Rocco had a huge success on their hands. Dozens of models, eight and ten tub , portable and fixed, began popping up throughout the mid-west. As this 1940s ad touts, the scooters became more popular and more profitable. Rumor has it surplus parts from WWII were used on new and existing installations. It is believed Bisch Rocco Flying Scooters were built through the 1950s.

Coney Island in Cincinnati Ohio had an early set of Bisch Rocco scooters, which were moved to Kings Island when the park opened in 1972. The Flying Eagles were extremely popular and ran at the park until 2oo4, They are still operating today at Carowinds. The Flying Eagles even launched a club of sorts, Flyer Addicts Anonymous.

Unfortunately, much of the history of the Bisch-Rocco Amusement Company has been lost, but the Flyer Addicts are working to piece together that history. Our thanks to the Flyer Addicts Anonymous for all the information. If you are interested in scooters or have any historical items or info you would like to share, check out the Addicts web site.