Joust-A-Bout was a flat ride which ran at Great Adventure from 1982 through 1998 at the top of the Boardwalk area of the park. It was originally the only ride at the top of the Boardwalk, later joined by some of the park's tallest and fastest attractions which overshadowed it literally and figuratively.
The Joust-A-Bout was retired from service in the winter of 1998-99, replaced with the Twister ride which now occupies its former location. Since then the Joust-A-Bout has sat in pieces in the park's "boneyard" near the edge closest to Route 537 where it can be seen from the road.
|Original technical drawings of Schwarzkopf's "Flying Carpet" ride.|
added to the park in the 1982 season, at the far end of Goodtime Alley,
the park's main games area.
After the original Goodtime Alley was destroyed by fire during the off season, a new and much improved games area was built, with a unifying theme created with the metal and blue facades and thousands of chasing lights.
The top left picture is from the Season Pass flyer for 1982, and shows a portable version of the ride as it appeared during Oktoberfest in Munich, complete with its Asian theme elements and backdrop. The top right picture shows the parts of the Joust-A-Bout arriving on site, still painted in primer red. In the background, the two "boats" sit with their roofs folded in half from their journey across the Atlantic. Everything including the fringe is already in place and simply awaiting assembly.
To help draw guests down through the games, an attraction was needed which could be seen from a distance, and Joust-A-Bout fit the bill with its height and motion which was further accentuated at night with its hundreds of lights.
The ride was a park model Schwarzkopf Dschunke (Chinese Junk) ride, also known as a Flying Carpet, and was the only one of its kind in the United States. The ride offered a family thrill ride with height and speed.
The ride had various cycle options. In the 80's, the cycle consisted of both clockwise and counter clockwise rotations. In the 90's it was changed to just counter clockwise.
The entrance queue traveled directly underneath the path of the arcing boats. Taller guests were actually able to touch the boat when it passed. When the boats traveled in a clockwise direction, guests would dash down the queue because it appeared that the falling boat was going to crush them especially when they traveled at full speed.
|The ride's cross bars were
functional for stability and balance. In addition they provided an
excellent visual effect similar to a taffy pulling machine.
Passengers had to wait either before or after their ride while the other boat was loaded. The movement to switch boat positions was referred to as "jogging".
The NJ Permit to Operate sticker listed the ride as "Flying Carpet Ride" - appropriate given the fringe encircling each boat's top.
|Watch Video Of
|The main motors that drove the ride were
located in the rear main column next to the operator's booth.
Consideration had to be given to make sure that the boats were equally balanced. The differential between Boat A and Boat B had to be eight guests or less.
The opening in the deck of the ride was appropriately referred to as "the pit". In 1982, the opening did not exist - the boards spanned the cutout.
The ride went through an extensive rehab in 1991, and was closed for a large part of the season.
Over the seasons what had seemed like a very tall ride was dwarfed by its new neighbors, first with Parachuter's Perch in 1983, then with Sarajevo Bobsled in 1984, and later with Great American Scream Machine added in 1989. Together they all served the purpose of drawing guests into the games area.
After the addition of the Parachuter's Perch next to it, the Joust-A-Bout was a frequent victim of lightning strikes, which wreaked havoc on the rides computer control system.
When Time Warner took ownership of Six Flags an effort was made to bring themes to areas of the park which were created in a mix of styles and themes over the years with no coherent overlying theme.
The area at the top of the Boardwalk games area was themed as part of the addition of the Right Stuff Mach 1 Adventure, and the area was given the look of an Air Force base. Joust-A-Bout became the Sky Pilot as part of this makeover, and the ride was painted in red and blue, with a black and white support column in front. The sign and logo given to the ride suggested almost a Jules Verne style rocket, suggesting this was some sort of crazy idea of a flying machine.
Sky Pilot operated until the end of the 1998 season, when it was removed to make way for the new Twister ride which still occupies that space. The Sky Pilot had been suffering downtime and the ride's manufacturer had gone out of business.
Today the part of Joust-A-Bout in its Sky Pilot paint scheme lays in the park's "boneyard". The ride's parts are visible from Route 537 in the winter when the trees are bare.
As Sky Pilot