Traditional – Magnum
By Jessica Chang
The Magnum is 205 feet tall at its highest point and the cart moves at a top speed of 72 miles per hour. The massive hills on the extreme ride are and the element of the Magnum that creates something they call “airtime!” The feeling of floating on the ride makes the ride unique, yet still has a traditional feel to it. The Magnum has 5,106 feet of track. It opened in 1989, and still, in 2006 was voted Number 3 in the “Best Steel Coaster in the World” category in a poll conducted by Amusement Today.
While at Cedar Point, I decided to ride the Magnum three times. What made the Magnum so great is the floating feeling you get when the cart goes down the hills and the fact that the lines are virtually non-existent! The first time I went on the Magnum, I sat in the center of the ride. I could see people go down the 60-degree descent at 205 feet above the ground. I did not get the float feeling as much as I did for the time I sat behind the first row. The ride fell 195 vertical feet and went into a back and out model where the tracks tilted slightly. It then dove into several bunny hops through tunnels. It was a bit more humid inside the tunnel. The best tunnel experience is under the third one where there’s a surprise change in acceleration (or dip) since you cannot see where the tracks are leading you.
What makes the Magnum a traditional ride is the fact that the riders are lifted to a high point so there’s a high potential energy. And because of the conversation of energy, the ‘point mass’ should technically continue to move because of the energy and gravity. However, due to friction, the cart can only go over smaller hills as time passes.
There is good reason behind the “airtime” feel you get on the Magnum. By Newton’s third law, he tells us that for every action there is an opposite reaction. So, in a ride you have 2 forces on you at all time: the force of gravity, which is always pulling you down and the normal force, or the force pushing you upwards. On the way down from the top of the largest hill, you feel weightless because the acceleration of the system is a centripetal acceleration since you are going from the top of one hill to the bottom of another hill The acceleration of the person is pointed downwards toward the center of the “circular path” and when you feel weightless, the normal force on your body is zero and thus you feel nothing is pushing you down The “relative weight” of a person is determined by the normal force felt by the person and since the normal force is zero on the way down the massive hill, one would feel temporary weightlessness. On the other hand, when you reach the bottom of a hill, you have normal force pointing in the exact opposite direction of gravity and it is also when the Normal force is the highest. At that point in time, you feel much heavier than you would normally.
The Magnum is also a great traditional roller coaster because the camera is placed an obvious spot so you can make a funny pose. You will also have many chances to get the best shot since the lines are so short. While you may experience a short headache, it is worth experiencing the different feel of the ride.