The passenger capsules travel around the perimeter of the boom at 4 rpm, not particularly fast, but the "flip" around the end of the oblong frame causes a sudden burst of speed and sends the compartments flipping end over end. The boom itself rotates at 7 rpm in the same direction as the pulley system. This combined but offset rotation provides each capsule with a unique and unpredictable experience. Zippers are capable of rotating both clockwise and counter-clockwise, and most are run with several rotations in each direction constituting "one ride".
Like all carnival equipment, the Zipper is designed to be portable. It can be disassembled onto a truck and transported from site to site.
The ride is no longer featured on Chance Morgan's website catalog; sparking the assumption that the Zipper is no longer manufactured.
On September 7, 1977, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a public warning, urging carnival-goers not to ride the Zipper after four deaths occurred due to compartment doors opening mid-ride. The safety restraints being attached to the door itself, riders are left unrestrained whenever the door is open. The 1977 victims all died after falling from their compartments. The failure was traced to original spring-close latches on the doors wearing out and not being replaced. Compartments on currently operating Zippers are secured using the original latch, a redundant latch approved by the CPSC, and a large R-Key pin as a third backup.
Despite these new safety features, the same scenario was repeated in July of 2006 in Hinckley, Minnesota when two teenage girls were ejected from the their compartment as the door swung open. Their door was apparently not properly closed by the operator who admitted to local law enforcement that he had not inserted the safety pin (R-Key) before starting the ride. Both of the victims, Erica Matrious and Breanna Larsen, survived the incident despite facing some serious injuries. On November 2, 2006, the girls were interviewed.
Many newer models of Zipper have solved this problem by completely restructuring the door lock system, also eliminating the need for an R-key. These newer models have also increased the weight of the compartments, reducing the spinning, which decreases pressure on the door latches.
Most Zipper operators now employ a "no single rider" policy. This is because a person riding alone can turn sideways in the seat, removing their legs from underneath the lap bar, risking serious injury as the capsule spins. The manufacturer sent out a notice to Zipper owners in 1995, pointing out the hazard and recommending the "no single rider" policy.
Direction of Travel
Suspension Type: Air Ride