Fireball, made by the Dutch manufacturer KMG, is probably one of the most widely seen major attractions at large fairs today. It is one of the first, high G-force pendulum style rides that have been all the rage in recent years.
Fireball is comprised of four large supports that hold up a hub at the top. The supports are attached to two trailers that contain water tanks to act as a ballast for the ride. From the hub hangs a large boom with a claw looking wheel at the bottom. The claw has six arms with gondolas attached to the ends of each arm, each one containing four seats for a total of 24 passengers. Riders are secured with a bulky, over the shoulder harness.
After everyone is secured, the loading platform lowers and the boom holding the claw begins to swing, much like on a swinging ship ride. The claw then begins to rotate as the arm swings. The claw can rotate at a maximum of 15 RPM. The boom will continue to swing until it hits a peak of 120 degrees, basically half upsidedown. The maximum height of the swing is 65ft (20m.) At the bottom of the swing, riders are subjected to some pretty substantial G-forces. If you happen to be on the side of the claw that is rotating with the motion at the time of the swing, the G-force will feel even higher!
This ride is named Fireball in the United States only, in other locations it is widely known as Afterburner. Why? I have no idea. KMG also has a one trailer version of the Fireball called Freak Out which has four sets of seats as opposed to six. Freak Out also has a front to back swing configuration as opposed to Fireball’s side to side configuration. This allows the the ride to swing over the midway. KMG also offers a massive, 130ft (40m) model called XXL. It holds 20 riders, racks onto three trailers, and can swing up to an incredible 151ft (47m.)
Many other companies quickly produced their own versions of Fireball. One of the most noteworthy are Chance’s Revolution rides that many amusement parks have installed. Revolution comes in two flavors: 20 seat and 32 seat. Another common one is Technical Park’s Street Fighter which, like Freak Out, holds 16 riders. Technical Park also has a looping version named Street Fighter Revolution. Mondial offers an XXL type ride called Mistral, which in turn comes in inward and outward facing seat models. At one time, Zamperla and Fabbri offered Fireball type rides called Nitro and Space Jam respectively.
A KMG Freak Out in action