Sky Diver is a ride that’s about at stereotypically “carny” as one can get. Like Zipper, it has a strangely threatening appearance despite being an amusement ride. The decorations kind of make Sky Diver look like a buzzsaw, and the sight of riders trapped in their cages at odd angles is intimidating to say the least.
Sky Diver is a 60s era Chance Rides creation that was seen virtually everywhere back in its heyday and up until 1994 or so when they went through a mass extinction of sorts. For all intents and purposes Sky Diver is a ferris wheel…a ferris wheel that may have been dreamed up by the devil, but a ferris wheel nonetheless. Skydiver sports small caged pods that are able to rotate horizontally while the wheel turns vertically. The small caged cars are equipped with a steering wheel that allows riders to effectively “make their own ride experience” by flipping the car around. I mean, it sounds like fun, right?
Welllll….according to some riders, the steering wheel can be very tough to move. If you couple this with the fact that the cars are a bit top heavy, riders may find that the cars will remain upsidedown for much longer than any normal human being can stand. I remember reading a review of Sky Diver some time ago that resulted in the rider simply relinquishing the wheel and toughing it out for the remainder of the ride. He spent most of it upsidedown.
I have never been on this ride, but I will ride a Sky Diver…one day. Instead of a commentary on how the ride is, here is a comment from DoD3 reader Brooke G. about her experience with the Skydiver’s diabolical restraint system.
“The way up isn’t bad, you’re laying on your back (kind of like a Toboggan [Note: a Chance made ‘Toboggan’ ride] lift hill). It would have been a lot more fun if the way down wasn’t so uncomfortable — Your car is pointed straight down, so you are literally hanging over the lap bar on your stomach. No matter how much flipping around you do (my friend and I tried), you can’t make it any more comfortable. Plus, you get stopped on the way down while they unload and load everything, so you are constantly stopped hanging over the bar. When I went to Lakemont and realized that they had one, I stayed away from it as much as I could.”
Originally, Sky Diver rides were outfitted with long florescent tube lighting. If I were to ever come across one of those today, I would be blown away by the classic-ness and would probably write an entire blog post about it. When Turbolite lighting became popular in the last 70s, many Sky Divers were converted to that style of lightning to eliminate the hassle of tube lighting while freshening up their appearance. Today, more and more being upgraded to LED lighting. The one in the photos has static LED lighting in similar colors to the original Sky Diver lighting package. Some, namely Power’s Great American Midway’s Sky Diver, have sequenced LEDs that make the ride look absolutely stunning at night.
Here’s a video of a Sky Diver at the 2011 St Bart’s Italian Festival in Scotch Plains, NJ; ride is owned by Majestic Midways:
Here’s a nice on-ride video by JamminJay1986. It’s about what I assumed a SkyDiver to be like, right down to the screams of “oh shit”, “ow that hurts”, and “oh my nuts.”10: Yo Yo | 9: Trabant | 8: Hustler | 7: Cobra | 6: Ring of Fire | 5: Paratrooper | 4: Scat | 3: Zipper | 2: Hi-Roller | 1: Sky Diver | WTCR Home