Arrow Dynamics

Arrow Dynamics
The Modern Arrow Dynamics Logo
Status Defunct
Clearfield, Utah, USA
Founded 1946 (as Arrow Development Company)
Predecessor Arrow Development Company Inc
Arrow-Huss Inc
Successor Bankrupt December 3, 2001, bought by S&S Power
Key people Ed Morgan
Karl Bacon
Ron Toomer

Arrow Dynamics, originally known as Arrow Development, was a roller coaster, log flume, and amusement ride manufacturer based in Clearfield, Utah, USA. In 2002, the company went bankrupt, but was quickly bought by fellow amusement ride manufacturer S&S Power to form S&S Arrow.

During its peak, Arrow Dynamics was responsible for some of the biggest and most significant advancements in the roller coaster industry. Innovations include the first tubular-tracked steel coaster, Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park, the first mine train roller coaster, Runaway Mine Train at Six Flags Over Texas, the first modern inverting roller coaster, Corkscrew at Knott's Berry Farm, the first hypercoaster, Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point and the world's first 4th-Dimension coaster X at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Arrow Dynamics had a monumental and lasting impact on the roller coaster industry.

Roller coaster company Vekoma still uses Arrow-designed trains on some of their roller coasters.



The Original Arrow Dynamics Logo

Arrow Development Company Inc. was founded when World War II veterans Ed Morgan, Karl Bacon, Bill Hardiman, and Angus "Andy" Anderson formed a small machine shop at 243 Moffett Boulevard, just north of Downtown Mountain View, California, USA. They started small, building Carousels and other rides for local amusement parks.

In 1953 they were contacted by Walt Disney, who was beginning to plan a new type of amusement park in California. Disney admired Arrow's work and hired the company to help design and build the ride systems for many of Disneyland's original and early rides, including Mad Tea Party, King Arthur Carrousel, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Casey Jr. Circus Train, and Snow White's Scary Adventures.

While Arrow designed and tested these rides, Walt Disney made frequent trips to Mountain View to check on their progress. Then the rides were quickly shipped down to Anaheim to be ready for the park's opening. Disney continued to use Arrow as he expanded Disneyland. The company went on to build Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Autopia, and Alice in Wonderland in the coming years.

Move toward roller coaster manufacturing

In 1959, Arrow Development designed what was to be the first of their many roller coasters, Matterhorn Bobsleds, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, USA. Built in conjunction with WED Imagineering, the ride was the first modern tubular steel tracked roller coaster in the world.

After the construction of the Matterhorn, Disney bought a third of Arrow Development and moved the company to a larger plant at 1555 Plymouth Street in the North Bayshore Area. At the new location, Arrow developed new ride systems for Disney and developed the vehicles and tracks for It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and the Haunted Mansion.

When Arrow wasn't developing rides for Disney, it was creating rides for other amusement parks. It developed the modern log flume ride, which can be seen in many amusement and theme parks today, with the first being El Aserradero in 1963. In approximately 1965, Bill Hardiman and Angus Anderson sold their interests in Arrow to Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan. In the 1970s, the company perfected and brought back the loop into modern roller coasters.

Arrow Development began to make significant advancements in the roller coaster industry and major installations throughout the United States. In 1975, Arrow installed one of the most important rides of its time, Corkscrew, which made its debut at Knott's Berry Farm as the world's first modern inverting coaster. Arrow made dozens of coasters throughout the decades, including several Corkscrew-style coasters, many "runaway mine train" coasters like Cedar Creek Mine Ride and Adventure Express, custom-designed coasters like Loch Ness Monster and Carolina Cyclone. Arrow Dynamics made considerable advancements in roller coaster technology and in many other fields, such as in water rides (creating the hugely popular log flume rides) and many other family-style rides.

Arrow Development also manufactured roller coasters outside the USA, including at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK. They created Steeplechase, a spiritual successor classic steeplechase rides, in 1977. Arrow Development also built Revolution, arguably Europe's first fully looping roller coaster.

Some of Arrow Development's later projects included what were at the time the world's tallest roller coasters, such as Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in 1989 and Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1994.

Reorganizations and bankruptcy

In 1972, founders Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan decided to retire and sold Arrow Development to the Rio Grande Railroad. At the time, Penn Central owned Six Flags, and Rio Grande had plans to build several theme parks of their own in addition to owning a coaster-building company. After almost a decade of ownership, Rio Grande sold Arrow in 1981 to the German manufacturing firm Huss Maschinenfabrik, which merged with Arrow Development to form Arrow-Huss. Dana Morgan (Ed Morgan's son) was appointed president, and Ron Toomer was made vice president and manager of engineering. Although the Arrow coasters continued to sell well, Huss got into financial trouble partially due to heavily investing in Darien Lake theme park in New York and the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans. Arrow Huss filed for bankruptcy protection in 1985, and 13 of the company's American officers negotiated a buyout. In 1986, the takeover was approved by the courts, and the company re-emerged as Arrow Dynamics. Ron Toomer served as president until 1993, then Chairman of the Board until 1995, then as a consultant director until his retirement in 1998.

In the 1980s and 90s, Arrow Dynamics worked on two prototype roller coasters: a pipeline roller coaster and the ArrowBATic. Neither of these projects was ever sold.

In the late 1990s, Arrow Dynamics' workload steadily decreased, with few installations toward the end of the decade. Other manufacturers such as Bolliger & Mabillard had entered the field, and Arrow was no longer the dominant steel coaster manufacturer. Bankruptcy loomed once again as Arrow made their final attempt to stay afloat with X at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a 4th dimension roller coaster designed by Alan Schilke. X opened to massive media attention and received an initially positive reception. However, several mechanical problems caused the ride to be closed for repairs during much of its first year of operation.

One last non-coaster-related project carried out by Arrow Dynamics was the Olympic Torch at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.

The company finally fell into bankruptcy in 2001. This was due to the high cost of X. At the end of October 2002, the company's assets were sold to fellow amusement ride manufacturer S&S Power (now S&S Worldwide). That same year, Arrow Dynamics was going out of business. S&S still produces Arrow's 4th dimension roller coasters and has built Eejanaika at Fuji-Q Highland and Dinoconda at China Dinosaurs Park.


Roller coasters

Model First Built Location First Built Year Number built
4th Dimension X2 Six Flags Magic Mountain, United States 2002 1
ArrowBATic N/A N/A N/A 0
Corkscrew Corkscrew Knott's Berry Farm, United States 1975 14
Custom Looping Coaster Corkscrew Cedar Point, United States 1976 25
Drop Coaster N/A N/A N/A 0
Hyper Coaster Magnum XL-200 Cedar Point, United States 1989 4
Launched Loop Unknown United States 1977 8
Loop & Corskcrew Ragin' Cajun Pontchartrain Beach, United States 1978 7
Mad Mouse Mad Mouse Myrtle Beach Pavilion, United States 1998 4
Mini Mine Train Marche du Mille-pattes La Ronde, Canada 1967 4
Runaway Train Runaway Mine Train Six Flags Over Texas, United States 1966 16
Pipeline N/A N/A N/A 0
Sky Surfer N/A N/A N/A 0
Steeplechase Wacky Soap Box Racers Knott's Berry Farm 1976 2
Suspended Coaster Bat Kings Island, United States 1981 10
Virginia Reel N/A N/A N/A 0

The company also built three large steel-tracked roller coasters, which it classed as Special Coaster Systems. They are:

Other attractions

This list is incomplete, please expand it if you can.
Model First Built Location First Built Year Number built
Log Flume El Aserradero Six Flags Over Texas, United States 1963 ~46
Shoot-the-Chute Tidal Wave 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, United States 1984 5

Notable Roller Coasters

Arrow built many innovative or record-breaking roller coasters from 1959 through to the demise of the company in 2002.


External links