A headchopper is any point on a roller coaster where an item comes very close to the passenger’s heads or at least appears to do so. All headchoppers are designed so that even the tallest rider, with both hands up, would be unable to touch the structure.
Where Can I Experience a Headchopper?
Headchoppers can consist of ride theming, tunnels, the support structure of the ride or the track itself. They are common on wooden roller coasters and are also found on many steel roller coasters. A really well-executed headchopper is a set of spinning blades which feature on Saw – The Ride at Thorpe Park in Surrey.
Through the Keyhole
On Wing Coasters designed by Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), keyhole elements are common. These elements feature both headchopper and footchopper effects. On wing coasters, riders are seated in pairs on both sides of the track and when the roller coaster train passes through the center of an object, it gives the illusion that the train and its passengers have just enough clearance to fit. The Swarm at Thorpe Park features a really good keyhole element, where the ride passes through the centre of a large billboard.