Paul Gregg, a grandfather in Seattle, debuted his backyard roller coaster with his two grandchildren as passengers on Nov. 16 (video below).
In a YouTube video called "Initial run of the Red Racer backyard roller coaster cart on the little rocket track," Gregg pushes his grandkids up the highest part of the structure and gravity does the rest as they fly all the way around.
Gregg is retired aerospace engineer, RT reports.
Gregg explained his rollercoaster, which he named Little Rocket, in the video's YouTube description:
The blue Little Rocket cart has Ackermann steering, while the new Red Racer cart has bogie steering.
For me, the most difficult task in developing a backyard roller coaster is the body of the cart. Designing a shape, building a mold and making a unique fiberglass body, would probably consume more time and money than the welded steel frame.
The trouble with most riding toy bodies is they don't interface very well to the coaster frame, and usually sit high. The Red Racer has a foot-powered car body, and the Little Rocket is made from a 15 gallon water barrel.
For those interested in building their own roller coaster, Gregg has created a website where people can purchase an e-book that goes into detail, according to Backyard Roller Coasters. In the e-book, Gregg describes why he builds rollercoasters:
Around 20 backyard roller coasters can be found online, built over the past 15 years. Most are built by energetic teenagers, but they look pretty poorly made, and of questionable safety. There are a few built by some very clever adults, but only a couple have what I would call a reasonable amount of physics and engineering applied to them.
None had any sort of documented qualification testing we would require of aerospace structures, and would have a reasonable assessment of safety. So in July of 2014 I set out to design and build a simple out- and-back roller coaster, in part to keep my engineering skills sharp, and in part to thrill some of my older grandchildren (5 and 7 years of age at the time).