Fly with Iron Man and fight villains on Hong Kong Disneyland’s new action-packed ride

Attraction, which is finally open after three years in the making, features city’s landmarks including Victoria Harbour and Tsing Ma Bridge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 10:41pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 11:13pm

Inside the gravity-defying Iron Wing vehicle, dozens of riders followed superhero Iron Man as he fought “dark forces”, flying, hurtling through the air and being flung to the ground in an action-packed battle on Hong Kong’s streets.

Though the exhilarating adventure felt real, the sudden movements were actually made in a simulated cockpit, supported by six electric actuators that form a motion base for the five-minute Iron Man Experience ride.

Launched at the Hong Kong Disneyland’s Stark Expo last month, it is its first-ever Marvel-themed ride attraction.

The park, with the help of 70 local designers and engineers, has spent over three years to design and create the ride, which comes complete with flight simulators, 3D projection, surround sound and other special effects which help riders be immersed in the battle with the evil forces of Hydra.

Upon boarding the Iron Wing vehicle, visitors have to put on a pair of smart glasses, throwing them into the Marvel world as they fly alongside Iron Man with the city’s skyline as the backdrop. Iconic landmarks such as the Tsing Ma Bridge and Victoria Harbour, and streets resembling those in West Kowloon and downtown are featured.

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To ensure the safety of riders, each cabin, which can accommodate 45 visitors per journey, is installed with 500 monitoring sensors with a CCTV system, which helps to detect irregular movements of visitors, prohibited obstacles and objects and whether the seat belts are all tightened. There are a total of five cabins with a capacity of 2,200 visitors every hour.

“The system will stop if something wrong is detected,” said Kong Kang-chuen, manager of engineering services, as he revealed the mechanisms of the ride. “The Iron Wing vehicle is in fact a simulated cockpit supported by six electric actuators that enable 10-feet space movements with six degrees of freedom, such as pitches, yaws, rolls, ups and downs. It can support a total weight of 16 tonnes.

“That’s why riders can really feel the bumpy impact of high-speed flying, twisting and turning, and also collision with cars and hard objects,” he added.

The cabin, produced in the United States, is in fact used by many commercial airlines as a simulated cockpit for pilot training.

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The system will emit cool air to keep temperatures between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius to prevent people from getting vertigo when seated in the action-packed simulator, Kong said.

Johnny So Ki-lai, manager of attraction operations, pointed out that what made the Iron Man Experience unique was its fully electric nature, allowing for greater movements compared with traditional hydraulic actuators.

“This electric simulator-based system can provide faster and sharper motions with a highly energy-efficient design that can save on 65 per cent of electricity. And the electric actuators are almost silent,” So explained.