Ratanga Junction, which turns 15 years in December, is relocating two of its prized attractions – the Slingshot “Human Catapult” Thrill ride and a World War 11 Dakota aircraft – elsewhere within the park.
The relocations will make way for an exciting new hospitality offering for the Western Cape, details of which will be announced in the New Year. Two Summit cranes (one at 100 tons and the other at 60 tonnes) were used in the immense undertaking. The 31m Slingshot masts were transported via an extendable trailer while the main fuselage of the Dakota was transported on a flatbed truck with the wings and main engines transported separately.
Ratanga Junction’s senior engineer, Richard Gates, said experts from Ysterplaat Air Force base had provided valuable advice on this unique relocation.
The Slingshot is a high adrenaline ride combining elements of bungy jumping and skydiving with flyers hoisted 10 storeys into the air and launched in to a 30 metre free fall at 80-90kph towards the ground before swinging upwards to an 180 degree arc. It is being relocated to a site near the park’s main entrance and is to be repainted a bright yellow and blue.
The 1943 Douglas Dakota Mark 3 has a unique history. It was used as a “glider tug” with the 512 RAF squadron in Operation “coup de Main” during the first stages of the Normandy D-Day landings in June 1944 as well as Arnhem and the Rhine Crossing.
Ratanga Junction General Manager Bill Taylor said the airplane was being relocated to the top of “Black Mountain”, a very visible hill within Ratanga Junction on Century City Boulevard and would be upgraded and form part of the new Bridgeways function portfolio.
“It will feature at our front entrance area and will be refurbished and well lit so it becomes a landmark for Ratanga Junction within Century City.”
Both attractions will be re-commissioned and ready for action during Ratanga’s peak December holiday season.
“In fact in we are planning on having the Slingshot operational for much of the year, even when the rest of the amusement park is in hibernation.
“Its capacity is limited to 350 riders per day so making it available to guests outside of the park’s seasonal operating schedule will relieve pent up demand. It will also be available for corporate functions and team building.”
Ratanga Junction, which is owned by the Rabie Property Group, will be open, weather permitting, for the peak season on November 22 and 24 (it is sold out on November 23) and daily, except for Christmas Day, from November 29 until January 14.