FAA Height Waiver Filed for Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Project 2024 – BGWFans
We’re only a handful of days away from Project DarKoaster‘s official announcement, however the movement of reports dictates that we proceed to look ahead.
We’ve identified for a few years now that Busch Gardens Williamsburg has huge plans for the earlier dwelling of Drachen Fire, Festhaus Park. In the mid-2010s, the positioning was rumored to be dwelling to half of a Rhine-crossing, launched, giga coaster identified solely by its codename, Project Madrid. Then, earlier than COVID, this plot was allotted to a planned-for-2021, Intamin-made, multi-launch, shuttle, giga coaster we leaked as Project Drachen Spire. After COVID-19 delayed Pantheon’s debut by two full years, a brand new Pantheon follow-up coaster was designed to exchange Drachen Spire within the park’s addition schedule—the Intamin indoor, household, multi-lap, multi-launch coaster anticipated to be introduced subsequent week, Project DarKoaster.
Despite the sudden insertion of DarKoaster into Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s plans, issues had been nonetheless trying fairly constructive for Drachen Spire’s post-COVID future. Both the FAA and JCC top waivers for the trip had been renewed—suggesting to us that, on the very least, Busch Gardens Williamsburg was holding its Drachen Spire choices open. It wasn’t till about 4 months in the past that we began to suspect one thing could also be altering.
In late April of this yr, Busch Gardens Williamsburg carried out a deeply bizarre top survey wherein they flew a pair balloons from a number of areas in and round Festhaus Park. Then, on the finish of June, the park carried out quite a few soil exams all through each Festhaus Park and the neighboring Busch Gardens Williamsburg “Boneyard.” It was at this level that it turned clear that BGW was plotting one thing actually monumental—and one thing that didn’t match up with something we knew about Drachen Spire.
That brings us to at present—when one thing wild landed in my inbox.
Long-time good friend of the positioning and ParkFans member, Adam, messaged me this afternoon with a tip: Busch Gardens Williamsburg had filed for a brand new FAA top waiver. Better but? This new waiver appears nothing just like the Drachen Spire. Still higher but? It gives us our first timeline proof for after we ought to anticipate to see this new thriller challenge. Oh, and sure, it provides us a highest level location and altitude too.
See why it is a large deal but? I assume so. Lets dive in.
Below you’ll discover a copy of the Federal Aviation Commission top waiver in query: 2022-AEA-13648-OE.
As you possibly can see, this top waiver was filed a pair weeks in the past on August ninth. The Construction Info and Structure Summary reveal that the waiver is for a everlasting amusement park construction which is slated for building between February 2023 and March 2024. Down within the Height and Elevation part, we are able to see the proposed construction’s top of 220 ft above grade. There’s additionally a “Structure Name” supplied, “Busch Gardens Bürgermeisters,” which might be the challenge’s inside codename or might be an try to conflate this submitting with the recently-debuted Bürgermeister’s Hideaway.
Under Structure Details, one other essential knowledge level might be discovered: the latitude and longitude of the construction’s highest level. A map displaying the precise location from the peak waiver might be discovered under.
All of this info, taken collectively, paints fairly a vivid image. Assuming this waiver is authorised and this new thriller challenge continues to maneuver ahead, we are able to anticipate a 220 foot tall “amusement structure” to be accomplished by April 2024 with its highest level positioned subsequent to Drachen Fire’s previous upkeep bay.
Given the gap of this highest level from any present (and even previously-planned-for-Drachen Spire) visitor pathways, we hypothesize that that is possible a brand new coaster—seemingly deliberate to debut in 2024 as a substitute of the previously-anticipated Drachen Spire.
Speaking of Drachen Spire, does the existence of a brand new Project 2024 imply Spire is useless? Not essentially—each renewed Drachen Spire top waivers are nonetheless technically, at the moment lively. That stated, the truth that one more coaster is being prioritized forward of it’s in all probability trigger for grave concern for those who had been a fan of Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s deliberate shuttle giga.
Project 2024’s highest level doesn’t instantly battle with the identified structure for Drachen Spire, however it’s shut—simply on the opposite facet of Drachen Fire’s upkeep bay from Drachen Spire’s once-planned predominant launch observe. What might actually spell doom for Spire although is that if Project 2024 finally ends up using Drachen Fire’s previous station constructing. If that had been to occur, Spire as we knew it, could be useless for certain.
There might be motive to suspect that Project 2024 might make the most of Drachen Fire’s station too. The highest level within the newly-discovered FAA waiver places Project 2024’s peak nearly precisely the place the highest of Drachen Fire’s elevate hill was positioned beforehand. Drachen Fire exited its station with a 180 diploma, left-hand flip earlier than getting into its 150 foot tall elevate. It’s very straightforward to think about a possible Project 2024 that follows this identical path—simply with a taller, steeper elevate.
To provide you with an thought of the distances we’re speaking about right here, under I’ve included a map measuring the gap from the beginning of Drachen Fire’s elevate to the newly-proposed highest level for Project 2024.
As you possibly can see, the blue line operating parallel to Drachen Fire’s station and upkeep buildings is about 260 ft lengthy. To put that in perspective, that’s greater than sufficient room for Iron Gwazi’s 206 foot tall elevate (about 240 ft lengthy) or Steel Curtain’s 220 foot tall elevate (about 220 ft lengthy). If Busch Gardens Williamsburg wished to make the most of Drachen Fire’s station constructing and comply with the identical path out of the station as Drachen Fire, a 220 foot tall elevate hill topping out on the location of the newly-proposed highest level works brilliantly.
Now sure, all of that is simply theorycrafting at this level, however don’t let that distract you from the information on the root of it. Right now, in keeping with public filings, a 220 foot tall construction—nearly definitely a coaster—seems to be slated to debut at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2024. That would make three notable coasters in three years. An funding schedule that aggressive is almost exceptional on this business—and that’s even earlier than we take a second to acknowledge that Project 2024 is trying as if it might be Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s largest coaster ever.
As we’ve reported many instances now, rumors have agreed for years that SeaWorld Parks has enormous plans for Virginia main into Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s fiftieth anniversary in 2025. A theoretical 220 foot tall Festhaus Park coaster appears to suit that invoice fairly properly, no?
With top surveys and soil exams in hand and a FAA waiver filed, what’s subsequent for Project 2024? Right now, we don’t know whether or not or not this challenge must return by means of the James City County top waiver course of. Infamously, Busch Gardens Williamsburg was capable of make the most of their James City County Project Madrid top waiver for Pantheon regardless of dramatic modifications to the challenge throughout improvement. The identical might be true with Drachen Spire’s top waiver and Project 2024.
If there’s not one other JCC top waiver within the pipeline, the following we hear from Project 2024 might, conceivably be after we begin getting precise website plans filed with the county. With building slated to begin on Project 2024 as early as February 1st, 2023, it’s doable that such filings might be simply across the nook…
Thanks for studying! ❤️
BGW Project 2024