Friday, July 24, 2015

MVHA Commemorative Poster

Mountain View Historical Association Poster

The Mountain View Historical Association posted an image of a poster commemorating Arrow's involvement with Disneyland for 60th Anniversary on July 17th. 

They also announced that Bob Gurr will be speaking at their annual bar-b-que on Sunday August 2nd, 1:00 p.m. at the Old Adobe Building 157 Moffett Boulevard in Mountain View.

I have an inquiry out to Pat Figueroa, MVHA's President, to see if they have any plans to make the poster available for sale and will post an update here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dal Freeman - Saved the best for last

Hold onto your... Holy Cow!

Lagoon has recently announced the opening of their newest coaster - Cannibal - which was designed by Arrow alumni Dal Freeman. Unlike many recent coaster designs, Cannibal was engineered and built in-house, with local (Utah) talent.

It starts with a trip up a 208-foot enclosed vertical tower. Next is a past vertical 116 degree push-over leading to a high speed shot thru a themed underground tunnel. Finally are three inversions including a 140-foot-tall (43 m) half-loop twist, a heartline roll, and a diving loop. 

Its 12 seat cabins feature lapbars, which is unusual for an inverting ride path, but Arrow basically invented the corkscrew roller coaster, which uses barrel rolls - a positive g maneuver - to keep you squarely planted in your seat. Cannibal chews thru 2735 feet of track in just over a minute, at speeds up to 70 mph, while pulling as much as 4.2 g's.


Dal joined Arrow in 1986 as the Director of Engineering, overseeing a staff of ten people. The size of his department more than doubled in three years, reflecting the then increasing demand for Arrow's coaster's.

Dal was with Arrow through the 90's, leaving just before X2 and the bankruptcy. He worked on the Pipeline, Magnum XL-200 and Drachen Fire, with Magnum being his favorite. Dal previously worked for Disney on Splash Mountain and was also offered the opportunity to work on either Jaws or Kongfrontation at Universal Studios Florida. He felt that Kongfrontation was more exciting and came up with the idea of using a suspended cable car as the ride vehicle.

Before working for Arrow, Dal worked for Thiokol, which made the Chickadee ski lift at Snowbird. Thiokol also produced a range of other equipment for ski resorts, including snowcats and snow grooming vehicles. Those businesses were spun off in 1978 when the company restructured itself to concentrate on its rocket motors and related technologies. Their snowcats were used in ski resorts, operated by the USAF in Alaska, and are now popular with private owners for all terrain transport.

At Lagoon, Dal's  first project was Wild Mouse. He worked on every Lagoon ride since; Spider, Samurai, Rocket, Rattlesnake Rapids, The Bat, Wicked, OdySea, Jumping Dragon and Bombora.

Dal's love for equipment started at a very early age, growing up up on a farm in the Salt Lake Valley. He was driving a tractor by age five. Using and maintaining farm machinery instilled a curiosity to understand how things worked and, if they were broken, what had to be done to fix them. This laid the foundation for pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah. He also held Engineer Land Surveyor and Professional Structural Engineer licenses.

One of the things Dal truly enjoyed about working at Arrow was the opportunity to interact with the customers. From the time a new project began, he was interfacing with manufacturing during construction, consulting during field installation and, finally, test check-out and start-up of each new rides. No two projects were exactly alike and Dal enjoyed the unique challenges that each instillation brought.

He apparently saved the best for last, as Dal announced his retirement mid July 2015.

Dal Freeman by Wicked





Sunday, March 8, 2015

Gallop to Nowhere - 1955

Today I'm posting an article from a 1955 issue of Kaiser Aluminum's magazine Aluminations on the refurbishment of the King Arthur Carousel at Disneyland.







Friday, March 6, 2015

Roller Coasters! video on Arrow Dynamics


This is a terrific 1990 documentary about Arrow Dynamics with some excellent POV video and the best footage I've seen on the Pipeline. 18:46 of enjoyment!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

More Car Body Styles

I've already blogged about the similarity between the Kaiser Darin and Midget Autopia, but haven't spent much time on all the styles of cars which Arrow did, so here is an Arrow Car Spotter's Guide;
Maybe you can help identify which parks these were operating at. I'll be adding some others later, for comparison.








Friday, February 6, 2015

Arrow Rio Grande Era Brochure

I recently met another Arrow employee who very kindly shared a brochure from the Rio Grande years which contains many wonderful photographs of Arrow rides.

Particularly interesting are the ones of the Rub-A-Dub ride, as it is clearly related to the patent which Ed Morgan received in November of 1973 (USD229,354). The boats are seen on page 4 of the brochure. There is also a carousel with a Griffin styled seat which I had not seen before.

I'll be posting more images over the next couple of weeks.

A Subsidiary of Rio Grande Industries
Rio Grande Era Carousel?

Ed Morgan 1973 Boat Patent
Rub-A-Dub Boats 
Any guesses where this may be?

And some new coaster images:




And on a further note; the legend of Arrow's Intellectual Property continues. In November 2012, Sansei Yusoki Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, acquired 77.3% of S&S...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Discoveries! Honest Abe & Two Arrow Ponies

Just when I thought that there were no new traces of Arrow's work to be found, three items turned up in the last two weeks. I'm posting the images and text pretty much as they appear on the web.

First is a 36" gauge locomotive and four passenger cars being offered for sale on Discover Live Steam;


36" ga. Arrow Development Train
Made by the Arrow Development company this "Steam Outline" train is powered by a 190 HP 4 cyl. propane engine (not running).  
The train includes 4 Passenger coaches each holding 18 passengers.  Also included are approximately 6,800' of 16 pound rail, 5 barrels of rail spikes and rail joiners and 1 rail spacing gauge.  Built in the early 60s, there where 14 of these trains made. 
Located between Seattle and Portland, OR.

The owner, Ron Brett, writes:

"I was told by the person I bought it from that it originally ran around a shopping center in Seattle WA. Both were removed to make room for the worlds fair in 1962. The person who purchased it then had his own carnival and would set it up at different fairs in the northwest. Eventually he sold the train to someone in Eatonville WA. who couldn’t pay, so it was repossessed and sat neglected for many years.

When I retired I bought 26 acres just south of Toledo Washington, where my wife and I started a farm and pumpkin patch called Story Book Farm.  I thought that a train would be a good addition and I had heard about this train sitting in the bushes around Marysville WA.  Eventually I located it and the owner. It took a year to convince him to sell. He moved the train to my property outside Toledo 3 yrs. ago."


Next are two carousel horses located in Massachusetts:

1950's Arrow Development Company Carousel Horse

Cast Aluminum Middle Row Jumper
Physical Condition - Excellent
Paint Condition - Some minor chips and scratched from normal wear and tear.

The Arrow Development Company that built this carousel horse was a pioneer inthe amusement park ride industry. The company was contacted by Walt Disney to engineer, build and install several rides for the original Disneyland. (One of the most famous being the Matterhorn Bobsleds - the first of it kind.)This carousel horse came from the Town and Country Mall Carousel in Kendall, Florida. It was painted by the Fabricon Carousel Company of New York for the owner in the mid 1980's.

1950'S Arrow Development Company Carousel Horse

Aluminum outer row jumper 
Physical condition - Excellent
Paint condition -good. Some minor chips and scratches from normal wear and tear.

If anyone knows more about these two ponies or the Honest Abe locomotive, please drop me a note at dwmfrancis@gmail.com