White Trash Carny Ride: Rock-o-Plane

The Rock-o-Plane is a classic fair ride made by Eyerly that seems to be making a comeback as of late, at least at the fairs around my location. The Rock-o-Plane is essentially a ferris wheel with 8 oval shaped pods that can lock into position if the rider pulls back a bar located in front of the seat. Today, these rides usually look pretty good because almost all have received new paintjobs due to their age, but their still pretty rinky-dink looking. They kind of seem to resemble large ninja stars made out of steel ladders…maybe that’s just me.

The restraints on these rides are definitely the worst part of the experience aboard a Rock-o-Plane; the lapbars are composed of a large metal bar with a seatbelt slung lengthwise across it. The bars close when the door closes, and then the bar locks by having one end stick out through a slat in the door. They aren’t exactly comfortable…

The Ride

Rock O Plane RideA ride on the Rock-o-Plane isn’t too bad. You can ride it like a normal ferris wheel or you can pull the bar back and let your pod roll upsidedown. Usually I start rocking the pod and then pull the bar back at random times, attempting to make the pod perform multiple flips…it never works for me. However some people skilled in the art of Rock-o-Plane flipping can!

Another trick I like to attempt is pulling the bar back while at the top and then trying to make the pod travel upsidedown through the loading area. The pod brakes on most of these rides aren’t the best so the pod usually slides out of position before a station pass can be completed. Bad brakes are probably a safety feature of the ride; the danger of tumbling the pod head over heels is the fact that you may just leave a permanent bruise across your lap due to the horrible restraints!

Other Info

Sky Dancer

Sky Dancer. Thanks to Edward Kirkland for the photo!

The Rock-o-Plane requires 1 trailer to move which is why its a fairly common ride among small carnival companies. Some Rock-O-Plane rides have also been modified to use open-air, forward facing cars; these versions are called Sky Dancer, but they’re not as common as the original. The Rock-o-Plane is also one of many ‘___-o-Plane” rides that Eyerly has made. The others being: Loop-o-Plane , Roll-o-Plane, and Fly-o-Plane. Other ‘o-Plane’ rides were made, but they were never as popular as the four mentioned; they include: Crash-o-Plane, Concorde-o-Plane, and Snakes-on-o-Plane.


  • Mr. Hot Dog says:

    I used to operate a Rock-o-Plane, and we had a pretty serious accident once where the ride started with the door wide open! I wasn’t operating the ride at the time — just helping load cars. I pulled one girl out before the open door smashed against the stairway used to board the ride, and the other girl had to be backed down after I ran to press the E-stop. It was a pretty treacherous ride, and all the parents were screaming and pulling their kids off.

    • Jimmy Fasig says:

      I am a personal injury lawyer suing a carnival company for brain damage sustained by a little girl when she slipped out of her restraint on the rockoplane. The ride operator’s excuse is that the lap bar clicks into the proper position automatically and there is no way my client slipping out could have been due to his error. I would love the opportunity to talk to you about how the restraint system works and if it is possible for the ride operator to put the lap bar into the wrong slat, allowing a little girl too much room so that she slips out.

      • Paul says:

        If the restraint bar is properly working, it comes down on the lap when the door is closed, however if the patron holds the lap bar up as the door is being closed, he can overpower the spring and the bar will remain in that position till the door is opened. Teenagers sometimes do this to give themselves more room to rock the car. Was the girl 42″ tall? Was she with a larger person that would prevent the bar from comming down far enough to hold her in? Was the girl able to hold onto the bar? (physical limitations, arm in cast etc.) Not likely an operator error.

      • Steven says:

        It is I used to liad one in the uk. If u don’t push the bar down and shut the door it will lock to high as happened once when a guy loading ours with no exp started. No injuries lucky enough I noticed it, gaffer reversed wheel and I put bar down, gave the chap a slap and we was ok.

  • admin says:

    Wow, that’s crazy! At least nobody got hurt. I remember a similar thing occurred when I was working at small amusement park a few years ago…although it wasn’t nearly as dire of a situation. It was while being showed how to operate a bumper car ride by a manager that really didn’t handle ride operations. The manager started the ride while some kid’s lapbar was wide open. I was like, “uh…that kid’s bar is open.” The manager looked up, slapped the stop button, walked out onto the floor, put the kids bar down, and started up again; he didn’t even acknowledge that anything happened!

  • mike says:

    The Rock-o-plane really needs to be returned full force to all carnivals!

    And if they have to build new Rock-o-planes to either build their reserves and/or replace old worn out Rock-o-planes, they shall do so. The Rock-o-plane is one of my all time childhood favorites and I will ride it again if given the chance.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      Yeah they do! These past few years I’ve only seen them at two different carnivals; they used to be at nearly every one!

      Unfortunately, I don’t think Eyerly makes rides anymore. However there are some ride operators who have put a new spin on the ride by placing forward facing seats on it. I can’t find a picture though, I know one was called Sky Dancer.

      • Glenn says:

        We have the rock o plane and the Rollo plane and the loop in ohio

      • jason clayden says:

        Hopefully all u guys will see this…I’m looking for a ride that I remember being called American skyliner but these come up then I type the name..now this was similar to this ride ,we had the large wheel but the egg shaped carts were fastened on the spine of the wheel. They had two seats inside and a steering wheel at the centre made of metal. Turning the wheel would make the egg spin left or right around the circumference of the spine so u could turn the wheel as it was being loaded with people and balance yourself on the top of the spine, others were happy to sit upside down. So you see at the top of the wheel spine you are sat upright facing forward a sitter either side of the spine. Letting go off the wheel suddenly would cause the egg to just drop underneath the wheel spine left or right depending on which side u were at more. So it worked with gravity ..once the ride gets going you spin around the spine of the wheel going from upright at the top projection to upside down underneath the spine also as the wheel is spinning forward as it goes down and around you kind of spin and fall at same time..it’s quite horrendous fear factor…lol…do you know of this ride variation..this is the UK where I experienced it in a Norfolk town called kings Lynn.thankyou. it was by the very famous UK fairground people whose name I forget off hand but we’re the biggest in England. Not Boswells , not Grey’s another name í can’t get out of head at min..I’m sure it will come back to me.. lol thankyou

    • Michael Robison says:

      As well as the “bullet”. These two were the best in my young life. Never see the bullet anymore except at a boardwalk in Daytona.

  • simon hockley says:

    hi my name is simon hockley from nottingham uk can any body help iam looking for parts for a rock o plane ,web address new part if still made ?thanks for you time .

    • Mr Steven Hemsell says:

      Hi I’m in Nottingham used to work william woods egg wheel, the one went goose late 80,s early 90,s u get it up and running

  • george says:

    I have never seen one of these rides in real life, and wold very much like to ride one. but for some reason the ones with the front fasting seets look extreemly uncomfortable. has eny one been on one with front fasting seets? if so what is it like comped the to ones with ‘pods’

  • chandler says:

    i rode the rock-o-plane a few years back and i was in the front facing seats they are rather uncomfortable and during the ride i ended up smacking my head off the back of the pod and i was extremely uncomfortable during the whole ride

  • garry g says:

    I’ve only rode this once at a carnival, and it was enjoyable….when I was a kid 40 some odd years ago- the was one at the famed Palace Amusements center in Asbury Park that peered out of the roof….Seaside Heights Funtown Pier and Palasaides Amusement park also had one in the 70’s……great rides should be manufactured forever…..roll o plane / flying coaster / swinging gym and lifting paratroopers ..I rode a ride similar to a lifting Paratrooper called DANCING QUEEN back in the mid 80’s on Seasides Casino Pier…the seats turned (not spun! turned slowly) simultaneously to face all 4 directions….it was there for about 2 years and I remember it being out of service once……the legendary Chance Turbo was also on the Casino Pier in the early 70’s and was closed for repairs both times when I visited and the ride was present. my all time favorite ride has to be the Swiss Bob/ Bayun Kurve….they could really make that go fast and the ride was always sparkling and well lit…..lot’s of fun.

  • Jason says:

    They returned the rock-o-plane at my local fair. It seems to run much slower than it
    Used to about 15 years ago when I used to go on it. It also seems to be much harder to flip on it.

  • Rosie says:

    I…have never seen one of these before. I love thrill rides but I’m not sure I’d get on this one.

  • glenn says:

    hello did you manage to find parts for the ride

  • Sandy says:

    If you rock your car at the bottom and lock it while your feet are up and you’re on your back, then keep it locked as you ride to the top, you’ll be upside down. Just as you are about to start the down side (but your car is still at the top and you’re upside down) release the lock and your car will spin head over heels all the way down. This is one ride that can be mild or WILD if you know how to work it!

    • Anne C. says:

      I liked to lock it so you’re upside down while coming down the back side. Other rides sometimes make me sick but never the Rock-O-Planes. My mother made my father ride with me once when I was very small, and he threw up. Another time I went to the fair with my friend in fifth grade. I had a suede purse that had fringe on it. That was the style around 1970. Anyway, I had gathered up all the change I could find in my parents’ coat pockets and in the sofas etc. My purse was loaded with change. It didn’t have a zipper or button,just a flap that went over with the fringe on it. Well the first time we went upside down all that change came out. It was bouncing around inside the cage during the entire ride. Some of the coins fell out and landed on the ground beside the ride, but the creepy looking operator told me I couldn’t go pick it up because he didn’t want me near the machinery or something like that. I’m 62 now and still love the Rock-o-Planes❤️

  • booboo says:

    This ride used to go to Tewkesbury mop fair (UK) during the late 80s and 90s. I’ve love to see it return! if you’re the owner reading this, or you own a working traveling rock-o-plane. Please get it to the tewkesbury mop again!
    I even have a facebook page for this https://www.facebook.com/groups/345217462492683/

  • chris says:

    looking for blue prints of the rock o plane to build a scale model made of brass.
    any info would be a help

  • Michael Robison says:

    The rock of plane is one of my most favorite rides. I am 66 years old and first rode this fabulous ride at our local Coffee County Fair in middle Tennessee at the age of 11. There is definitely an art about flipping your car and timing it so you are totally upside down at the loading level. The ride left the midway for many years but has recently returned and I ride it several times. I have at times been traveling and come across little carnivals in shopping center parking lots and most of these have this ride. Yep, you guessed it. I always pull over, park and ride the ride. Once in Nashville Tn at the Sam’s wholesale club, I was the only one on the ride and the operator said that he would let the ride run while he went to get something to eat. I stayed on the ride about 15 minutes all by myself and loved it. Best ride ever!!!! Now if they would bring back the bullet too!

  • ….rode rock -o- planes from 1957/1977 from west view park (pennsylvania) to marine pier, wildwood (new jersey)….one of my favorites!

  • Steel Tuby says:

    My favorite as a kid as well. Found at most moving carnivals through the 80s. Even then, many looked like they had seen better days. Some didn’t even have the belt strap- rather the steel bar would come down further and that was your restraint! Also been in one that replaced the seats with plywood. Okay for a pre-teen but not very comfortable for an adult,

  • Kevin Z says:

    I operated a Rock-O-Plane that was located at the end of Marine Pier In Wildwood NJ. It had been repainted so many times over the years that the brake lever was never really secure in the notches. One evening, while locking and unloading a car with 2 teenage girls, the first girl tripped on the platfom while exiting the car. The brake slipped out of the notch and the ride began to run with the 2nd girl still in the car and the door open. I managed to stop the ride but the car was over 6 feet off the platform. There was no reverse. I had to use a high stool on my tip toe and thankfully was able to reach and close the door but I could not pin lock the door. The poor girl had to endure another rotation going upside down since the car was locked for unloading. It was a frightening ordeal but thankfully a good ending. The sad thing is I initially stopped to let the girls off early in the ride as the 2nd girl was screaming for me to stop the ride and let her off as she was frightened to death her friend was going to make her go upside down.

    • Alan Gee says:

      I operate a permanent Rock-O-Plane at a local theme park and it’s definitely a favorite. It’s always running compared to the 8 other rides in the park and it’s good for all ages. Glad to see all the comments.

  • Frank says:

    As soon as I had the guts to go upside down I fast became… King of the Rocko’s. I would take the unsuspecting co-passenger and drop us both on our heads at the bottom. This was a true skill to balance the cage just so that we could be in the unlocked position, at maximum weight, free-wheeling, upside down at the bottom. Best scream in anguish you ever heard. “Noooooooooooooo Ahhhhhhhhhhh”!

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