White Trash Carny Ride: Rock-o-Plane

Note: WTCRs are NOT dangerous. If you see one at a carnival, I urge you to ride one!

The Rock-o-Plane is a classic fair ride made by Eyerly that seems to be making a comeback as of late, at least at the fairs around my location. The Rock-o-Plane is essentially a ferris wheel with 8 oval shaped pods that can lock into position if the rider pulls back a bar located in front of the seat. Today, these rides usually look pretty good because almost all have received new paintjobs due to their age, but their still pretty rinky-dink looking. They kind of seem to resemble large ninja stars made out of steel ladders…maybe that’s just me.

The restraints on these rides are definitely the worst part of the experience aboard a Rock-o-Plane; the lapbars are composed of a large metal bar with a seatbelt slung lengthwise across it. The bars close when the door closes, and then the bar locks by having one end stick out through a slat in the door. They aren’t exactly comfortable…

The Ride

A ride on the Rock-o-Plane isn’t too bad. You can ride it like a normal ferris wheel or you can pull the bar back and let your pod roll upsidedown. Usually I start rocking the pod and then pull the bar back at random times, attempting to make the pod perform multiple flips…it never works for me. However some people skilled in the art of Rock-o-Plane flipping can!

Another trick I like to attempt is pulling the bar back while at the top and then trying to make the pod travel upsidedown through the loading area. The pod brakes on most of these rides aren’t the best so the pod usually slides out of position before a station pass can be completed. Bad brakes are probably a safety feature of the ride; the danger of tumbling the pod head over heels is the fact that you may just leave a permanent bruise across your lap due to the horrible restraints!

Other Info

Sky Dancer

Sky Dancer. Thanks to Edward Kirkland for the photo!

The Rock-o-Plane requires 1 trailer to move which is why its a fairly common ride among small carnival companies. Some Rock-O-Plane rides have also been modified to use open-air, forward facing cars; these versions are called Sky Dancer, but they’re not as common as the original. The Rock-o-Plane is also one of many ‘___-o-Plane” rides that Eyerly has made. The others being: Loop-o-Plane , Roll-o-Plane, and Fly-o-Plane. Other ‘o-Plane’ rides were made, but they were never as popular as the four mentioned; they include: Crash-o-Plane, Concorde-o-Plane, and Snakes-on-o-Plane.

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13 Responses to White Trash Carny Ride: Rock-o-Plane

  1. I used to operate a Rock-o-Plane, and we had a pretty serious accident once where the ride started with the door wide open! I wasn’t operating the ride at the time — just helping load cars. I pulled one girl out before the open door smashed against the stairway used to board the ride, and the other girl had to be backed down after I ran to press the E-stop. It was a pretty treacherous ride, and all the parents were screaming and pulling their kids off.

    • I am a personal injury lawyer suing a carnival company for brain damage sustained by a little girl when she slipped out of her restraint on the rockoplane. The ride operator’s excuse is that the lap bar clicks into the proper position automatically and there is no way my client slipping out could have been due to his error. I would love the opportunity to talk to you about how the restraint system works and if it is possible for the ride operator to put the lap bar into the wrong slat, allowing a little girl too much room so that she slips out.

      • If the restraint bar is properly working, it comes down on the lap when the door is closed, however if the patron holds the lap bar up as the door is being closed, he can overpower the spring and the bar will remain in that position till the door is opened. Teenagers sometimes do this to give themselves more room to rock the car. Was the girl 42″ tall? Was she with a larger person that would prevent the bar from comming down far enough to hold her in? Was the girl able to hold onto the bar? (physical limitations, arm in cast etc.) Not likely an operator error.

  2. Wow, that’s crazy! At least nobody got hurt. I remember a similar thing occurred when I was working at small amusement park a few years ago…although it wasn’t nearly as dire of a situation. It was while being showed how to operate a bumper car ride by a manager that really didn’t handle ride operations. The manager started the ride while some kid’s lapbar was wide open. I was like, “uh…that kid’s bar is open.” The manager looked up, slapped the stop button, walked out onto the floor, put the kids bar down, and started up again; he didn’t even acknowledge that anything happened!

  3. The Rock-o-plane really needs to be returned full force to all carnivals!

    And if they have to build new Rock-o-planes to either build their reserves and/or replace old worn out Rock-o-planes, they shall do so. The Rock-o-plane is one of my all time childhood favorites and I will ride it again if given the chance.

    • Yeah they do! These past few years I’ve only seen them at two different carnivals; they used to be at nearly every one!

      Unfortunately, I don’t think Eyerly makes rides anymore. However there are some ride operators who have put a new spin on the ride by placing forward facing seats on it. I can’t find a picture though, I know one was called Sky Dancer.

  4. hi my name is simon hockley from nottingham uk can any body help iam looking for parts for a rock o plane ,web address new part if still made ?thanks for you time .

  5. I have never seen one of these rides in real life, and wold very much like to ride one. but for some reason the ones with the front fasting seets look extreemly uncomfortable. has eny one been on one with front fasting seets? if so what is it like comped the to ones with ‘pods’

  6. i rode the rock-o-plane a few years back and i was in the front facing seats they are rather uncomfortable and during the ride i ended up smacking my head off the back of the pod and i was extremely uncomfortable during the whole ride

  7. I’ve only rode this once at a carnival, and it was enjoyable….when I was a kid 40 some odd years ago- the was one at the famed Palace Amusements center in Asbury Park that peered out of the roof….Seaside Heights Funtown Pier and Palasaides Amusement park also had one in the 70’s……great rides should be manufactured forever…..roll o plane / flying coaster / swinging gym and lifting paratroopers ..I rode a ride similar to a lifting Paratrooper called DANCING QUEEN back in the mid 80’s on Seasides Casino Pier…the seats turned (not spun! turned slowly) simultaneously to face all 4 directions….it was there for about 2 years and I remember it being out of service once……the legendary Chance Turbo was also on the Casino Pier in the early 70’s and was closed for repairs both times when I visited and the ride was present. my all time favorite ride has to be the Swiss Bob/ Bayun Kurve….they could really make that go fast and the ride was always sparkling and well lit…..lot’s of fun.

  8. They returned the rock-o-plane at my local fair. It seems to run much slower than it
    Used to about 15 years ago when I used to go on it. It also seems to be much harder to flip on it.

  9. I…have never seen one of these before. I love thrill rides but I’m not sure I’d get on this one.

  10. hello did you manage to find parts for the ride

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