Texas Chute Out

Ride Retrospective
Texas Chute Out technical drawing from Intamin

Much like skyscrapers create unique skylines for their cities, tall attractions define the overall look and identities of theme parks. For years, Six Flags over Texas’ iconic skyline was partially created by the Texas Chute Out, a towering parachute drop ride in the Goodtimes Square section of the park. In this ride retrospective we’ll take a look back at the classic ride and why it was eventually removed.

Replicating a Classic Ride

It was the 1970s and Six Flags over Texas had decided it needed a lofty attraction for its upcoming 15th anniversary. Swiss ride firm Intamin was commissioned to design a modern version of the classic Parachute Jump ride at Coney Island. The chain ended up buying 3 “Paratower” parachute rides from Intamin, the other 2 going to Six Flags over Georgia and Six Flags Mid-America (and later moved to Six Flags Great Adventure).

At a cost of $1.5 million, Texas Chute Out opened to the public for the park’s 1976 season. Standing over 200 feet tall, the ride could be seen for miles and served as a vertical billboard for the park. The parachute ride also filled the gap left behind after Sky Hook was removed, offering park guests aerial views.

The Texas Chute Out Experience

Texas Chute Out was a simple ride. 2-3 riders would board a weighted seat attached to a parachute, pull down a lap bar, and be whisked nearly 200 feet into the air with a signature “whoosh.” The parachute would pause for a few seconds at the top, giving riders a brief view of Six Flags over Texas and both Dallas and Fort Worth skylines. Finally the parachute would free fall about 30 feet before slowing its rate of descent gently down to the ground. Although the Texas Chute Out wasn’t intended to be an intense thrill ride, guests uneasy with heights probably considered it as such.

Originally Chute Out gave riders the option to stand during the ride in special stand-up parachutes. The park removed the stand-up vehicles in the mid-90’s, one main reason being the standing riders jumping up and down causing trouble lights.

During Holiday in the Park the park shut down Chute Out and decorated it with Christmas lights from top to bottom, forming one of the largest Christmas trees in the world.

Texas Chute Out Stats

Ride Type:Paratower (Parachute ride)
Years Operated:1976-2012
Height:200 ft
Capacity:1200 riders/hour
Duration:28 sec
Manufacturer:Intamin
Location:Goodtimes Square
Replaced By:Texas SkyScreamer

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Technical Details

The ride’s 12 parachutes were lifted and lowered by cables winched up and into the 8-foot central tower. Counterweights attached to the cables in the tower assisted the motors. Three fixed cables guided each parachute as it floated up and down.

Within the central tower was an elevator large enough to accommodate two people, allowing quick access to the top of the tower.

Chute Out’s control system required the operator to place a magnet in a particular place on the control panel in order to start the ride.

Removal

After over 30 years of operation, it became difficult for the park to justify keeping the Texas Chute Out. High winds often forced it to close. Throughput was low unless the park staffed it at high levels. Modern drop rides like Superman Tower of Power attracted more crowds and ridership on Chute Out seemed to be lower each year.

Six Flags over Texas eventually announced September 3, 2012 would be the final operating day of the Texas Chute Out, citing the need to build a new ride in its place. That new ride would turn out to be the Texas SkyScreamer, a record-breaking swing ride double the height of Chute Out.

Texas Chute Out went out with a literal bang with the demolition company opting to send the ride crashing down in a spectacular manner. Over 29 million riders experienced Chute Out throughout its 36 years of operation and it will forever be an iconic ride in Six Flags over Texas history. Its closure leaves Six Flags Great Adventure’s version the only remaining parachute ride.

References

  • GuideLive Staff. “Texas Chute Out Goes Tumbling down at Six Flags Over Texas.” The Dallas Morning News. 10 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2016.
  • McCown, Davis. “Texas Chute-out.” Parktimes. 17 Aug. 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2016.

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