Both Arrow Development (Clearfield, Utah) and Huss Maschinenfabrik (Bremen, Germany) already had a rich history when in 1980, Huss and Arrow were linked together. Arrow at that time was owned by Rio Grande Industries who had at the time plans to build their own theme parks. Penn Central owned Six Flags at the time and Rio Grande Industries did not want to be left behind by one of their competitor in the railroad business. When their plans to build parks fell apart, they sold Arrow Development to Huss.
So Huss merged both companies together and started marketing their rides as “Arrow-Huss”. One thing to note is that Huss was not involved in the roller coaster design side: they left Arrow designers and manufacturing in place and took care of the marketing and sales.
The first ride packages to come out of the partnership opened in 1982 at Calaway Park (Calgary, AB) and Darien Lake (Darien Center, NY).
The Vortex at Calaway Park (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) was the headlining ride at a cost of 3 million dollars (Canadian) and it was a standard “Corkscrew” and thus was similar to many similar models around the world. The park went with the standard one train layout and it uses a 6 cars train with the manual restraint release using the pedals. Vortex was originally called the “Corkscrew Roller Coaster” and it was repainted and renamed to its current look and name in 2005. The current set-up for the ride is to do a first lap around the ride, stop the train and ask guests if anyone want to exit. If everyone give thumbs up, the train is immediately sent around for another cycle.
The Vortex train about to go down the first drop.
The Vortex feature both lattice and pipe supports for the track.
The first Corkscrew.
The first drop.
When the ride was renamed the Vortex in 2005, those banners appeared in the line and in the station.
A banner in the station and the train going up the second hill.
The back car of the train and you can see the restraint release pedal on the left.
The bucket seat and shoulder restraint.
The ride still feature “Arrow-Huss” plates on all cars.
Vortex was accompanied by a few Huss flat rides such as a Swing Around, a Pirate and a Troika. While it may appear that “The Storm” was an opening day attraction at the park, it came in 2003 when the park purchased it from Hersheypark (Hershey, PA). It operated as the Cyclops there and it opened in 1980. The park sold it in 2002 when it was removed for the new for 2003 attraction called the “The Claw”, a Chance Rides Revolution 32.
The Swing Around was renamed from the SkyRider to the Wave Rider in 2005.
The Mini Enterprise is called the SkyClimber and was previously credited by us to Huss, but this is an Intamin attraction.
Ocean Motion is the park’s Pirate ride.
The Storm that came from Hersheypark in 2003.
The Viper was a custom installation and the first roller coaster to have five inversions in the world. Darien Lake was unique back then, as it had an agreement with Huss to serve as a “showcase” for their rides for the North America market. It was natural then that when Arrow-Huss was formed, Darien Lake would receive a large roller coaster from them. Viper is 121 feet tall and features a 75 feet drop into a 66-69 feet tall vertical loop. It then heads into the “Batwing” double inversion, which consist of a half corkscrew into a half loop down, a half loop up and a half corkscrew sending the train back toward where it came from. It then rises up into a left hand turn that leads into the mid-course brake, as it opened with 3 7 cars trains. Today, two run and the mid course brake is only used to slow down the train.
The Viper feature a long pre drop sequence after the lift hill. This picture appears courtesy of www.negative-g.com .
This picture show one the Viper train about to go down the first drop. This picture appears courtesy of www.negative-g.com .
The train in the large vertical loop. This picture appears courtesy of www.negative-g.com .
After exiting the brake section, it drops into a double corkscrew and the ride concludes its 3100 feet long journey with a half covered 540 degrees helix.
The second Corkscrew on the ride. This picture appears courtesy of www.negative-g.com .
The train in the final helix. This picture appears courtesy of www.negative-g.com .
The ride reaches speeds of 50 mph and was originally painted black. In the 1990’s, the ride was repainted green for the track and in 2010, it went back to all black.