A drop tower ride is an amusement park ride that is based upon a tall tower with a central core. A gondola type of seat or series of seats is lifted to the top of the tower, and then dropped, still attached to a mechanism on the tower.
The gondola, or seats fall at a free fall until near the end when the seats are slowed down and stopped by the mechanism slowly enough so there is no shock at the end nor is there any sudden stop.
The towers very in height and design with some being manufactured on an individual basis, and some being mass produced.
Most of the drop towers that are in various amusement parks require that a child be of a certain age and a certain height in order to ride on the drop tower. This is to ensure that a child does not slip out of the protective harness in the seat which straps passengers in.
Some of the drop towers will accelerate while falling and will cause the passengers to actually be lifted out of the seats in which they are riding.
One of the favorites among amusement park goers is the “Cliff Hanger” which has a height of roughly ten stories. The passengers get into their seats on the ground, and then they are lifted to the top. Then the seats are hung out away from the tower, giving the impression of nothingness below. (which is true, except for still being attached to the tower). Then suddenly, without warning the seats drop free fall, and are slowed down and stopped by the curving of the track upon which they are attached, until the seats stop. The passengers are on their back when they stop, as the track has curved that way upon slowing down and stopping.
Other names of drop towers are the Space Shot, The Pile Driver, The Double Shot, The Turbo Drop, the Flash Tower, and the Hurakan Condor. All of these different rides have their own features such as the Turbo Drop has an air blast as it goes down.
Each year, thousands of thrilled fair goers ride drop towers to find out what it feels like to fall from a tower in free fall. Obviously not many people have experienced that before, making the ride a very popular and sensational experience for all ages.