Yabafo Brings Free Fall Experience To Jaded Shoppers

Yabafo is an amusement ride located in an unusual spot; it is the first building-mounted, free-fall ride. It will be integrated into an outside wall of Osaka's 12 story namBa HIPS entertainment complex.

(Yabafo amusement ride)

The ride will drop up to six people at a time from a height of 240 feet down to about sixty feet above street level at a top speed of fifty miles per hour.

I think that this is a great start, and not just for amusement rides. I see this as a precursor to some of my favorite science-fictional elevators, like those proposed by Robert Heinlein and 'Doc" Smith.

In his 1956 novel Double Star, Heinlein described a "bounce tube" that could get you downstairs in a hurry:

On arrival I decided to forego the main entrance and took a bounce tube from the sub-basement to the twenty-first floor...
(Read more about Heinlein's bounce tube)

Even more extreme is the "drop shaft" from 'Doc" Smith's 1937 classic Galactic Patrol:

In perfect alignment and cadence the little column marched down the hall. In their path yawned the shaft - a vertical pit some twenty feet square extending from Main floor to roof of the hall; more than a thousand feet of sheer air, cleared of all traffic by flaring red lights...

Dropping with a velocity of over two thousand feet per second though they were at the instant of impact, yet those five husky bodies came from full speed to an instantaneous, shockless, effortless halt...
(Read more about 'Doc' Smith's drop shaft)

It won't be long now.

It seems like everyone is thinking that the answer to their problems lies in adding on an amusement park ride; check out the Roller Coaster For Astronauts that NASA is going to build for their Orion spacecraft launch pad. (Note: you must be at least 58.50 inches tall to ride.)

Via PT; look at this builder blog for more yabafo amusement park ride picures.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/16/2007)

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