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1981 Bat Original Layout


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8 hours ago, DiamondBeast said:

I never wouldve guessed it was a restaurant. It looks nice. It seemed to fit in coney very well. Was there indoor seating? 

Brass Ring was a really cool concept - it was themed to look like a merry-go-round, and all the food was originally on a large revolving platform, akin to a carousel. No indoor seating, just a covered open-air patio to the side (similar to today's Juke Box Diner).

Here's a better picture of it, from KICentral's photo gallery / Reggie Zippo:


Based off park guides, articles, and photos, it was added with the Coney Island expansion in 1975 and its last year was 1981. In 1982 it became Cafe Mexicana, though it retained its carousel appearance.

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I have followed the legacy of "The Bat" ever since I saw it operate on my first trip to KI as a kid.  I seemingly learn more about it every few months.

Here's what I've been able to put together re: the original topic of this thread...

As far as any information I've ever seen, the operational design for "The Bat" at Kings Island was never seriously intended to have inversions.

The design in question could likely be an early layout concept presented to the park in when they first held serious meetings with Arrow about the idea.  Arrow had been developing the concept of the suspended coaster as early as 1977 - 4 years prior to "The Bat" opening. That same year, the "Screamin Demon" premiered at KI - giving KI their first "large" steel coaster (albeit a shuttle.)  Its highly likely that, at the time the park was investing in "Screamin Demon", they saw Arrow's initial designs for the suspended.  By 1978, the documentary "America Screams" showed the public the very first concepts of the suspended prototypes.  There was a working model, with an inversion... and a full scale, ridable coaster without an inversion.

Its no secret that KI began eying another coaster install in 1978 - before they even finished building "The Beast."  By then, quite a few advancements had been made in steel coaster technology.  Arrow had grand success - loopers and shuttles were popping up all over the country.  KI already had an Arrow looper (albeit a shuttle) and knowing the impending success they'd have with "The Beast" they obviously wanted (and felt pressure to) follow it with something groundbreaking.  Knowing the manufacturer was the leader in new coaster technology (at the time), they likely had kept tabs on the suspended coaster that Arrow had yet to sell.  Walt Davis, Kings Island's Director of Park Operation at the time went to Arrow's plant in 1978 where he rode the first prototype and initiated design meetings with Arrow about bringing the concept to KI. 

I was actually able to check with a source I have that was affiliated with Arrow at the time of "The Bat" and they clarified a few things for me.  Out of respect, I am keeping the source confidential. 

I asked about the 2nd prototype that included an inversion.  I was told that Arrow did test the possibility of incorporating inversions on their suspended coaster design, but that never made it past that stage.  They said the test track that was built - with the inversion - never ran with more than a string of train chassis. (To their knowledge.)

They did not know the specifics of the plans seen in Orion's queue specifically, but said they were likely a part of the initial "idea" designs Arrow presented KI in the earliest stages of development. Basically a "here's our options for that area."  It took over 18 months for the design and engineering to be finalized... before construction began.. so that likely dates those plans to early 1979 at the latest.

The person I spoke with elaborated a bit about the issues Arrow faced with the ride.  Much has been made of the issues "The Bat" had with the unbanked track, the braking system, the overswing etc.  But apparently MAJOR concerns involved the strain on the chassis themselves.  We all know that on May 21st in 1982, "The Bat" abruptly shut down mid-operation due to what the park would only explain as a "mechanical malfunction." But I now know that the chassis on car #2 and #3 cracked while riders were on board halting the train at the bottom of lift #2.  This became a HUGE safety concern for the park, especially because it endangered riders, and apparently they were incensed with Arrow.  It was during the 1982 shutdown that Arrow reworked the design of some of the supports, supplied new train chassis, and added multiple shocks to absorb the stress etc etc etc - all at their cost. 

Of course "The Bat" was reopened in 1983, but continued to literally tear itself apart.  I was told that after the final closure, Kings Island forced Arrow to foot the bill and remove it.  Its been rumored that there was some sort of an "agreement" meant as good will between Arrow and KI that ultimately resulted in Vortex being built... but I've never personally heard/seen proof of that. This ultimately put Arrow into a state of financial ruin and the company fired half the staff.  Walt Davis, who had overseen the project for KI - left after the debacle.  He went on to plan and oversee "The Beach" and the US division of Togo.

I'm not sure the date in which the 2nd prototype was built at the plant - its likely it was being done at the same time they were developing/building "The Bat" as it was a constantly evolving process. I know the original source of the picture in question - but not its date.   Its is obvious that it was prior to their obvious need to bank the track.  I hope to reach out to them soon to date the picture.

Arrow survived, of course, but the concept of the inversions didn't.  Its fun to see a video of what the ride would have looked/felt like with inversions - I enjoyed watching it.  But it was never meant to operate that way.

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