All the 28 capsule on the wheel are all glass encased, self-rotating, air-conditioned and climate-controlled gondolas with their own independent ventilators. There are plenty of standing space with 4 fiber glass benches facing each face of the capsule longitudinally. Though each capsules is capable of holding 28 passengers, seldom do this limit is reached when there are space to spare. My capsule of about 15 people is comfortably packed with space for everyone, any more and the ride might be too packed for comfort.
Seats are rather limited on the capsule and while most people will (particularly Singaporeans) will rush for them the moment they board the flyer. However given that, you can be rest assured that everybody will all be off the seats less than a quarter into the revolution- There is just too much see and they are all best enjoyed by the handlebars of the capsule itself. In fact thereafter everyone stayed on their feet throughout the rest of the flight, it’s simply a new sight at every turn.
For ride related information, each capsule spots 2 LCD TV which plays commentary. For those who can’t stand the looping video, informational brochures and leaflet are available which doubles also as a landmark finder and unfolds into a map compass. If you need to get your direction or bearings any time, there is a fixed compass on the roof of the capsule as well.
Singapore GP Marina Bay Street Circuit Starting Grid and Pits
The wheel starts the revolution towards the the Singapore Grand Prix pit building, offering a bird eye’s view of the formula starting grid and paddock. Look at the other side of the gondolas towards the city bay area now and you will be greeted by a mass of steel and wire columns which obscures your view until you get to the other side of the revolution.
In the background of the F1 paddock are the outer reaches of the marina bay, where you can see the ECP highway on the Benjiamin sheares bridge snaking it’s way towards the east coast residential area. The kallang basin as well as the Singapore outdoor and indoor stadium are visible as well. Beyond the shoreline view is the open sea, dotted with several off shore container ships anchored offshore. A landmark to see here in particular is the marina barrage in sight which will form part of the “garden’s by the bay attraction with a large bay side amphitheater linked across the east coast highway to the Sands intergrated resort.
I generally get feedback from people not being able to ride on the flyer given their fear of heights. Though I do not suffer from and form of Acrophobia, personally I find the ride’s calm and steady nature non-invoking to any form of vertigo, particularly even to those I know who fear of heights. You are completely shielded from the elements within the capsule, so everything is completely safe. In my own opinion, the flyer is not your typical definition of an amusement park ride either and serves more to amaze and awe about than to scare. After all, you do not know what you will be missing, so that is not an excuse for missing this ride, unless those on the extreme cases where you start to panic uncontrollably or go nausea at the sight of heights, then maybe this ride is not for you.
One interesting thing to note that like the London eye, and unlike conventional ferries wheels, all the gondolas are mounted on the external circumference of the wheel. The added benefit of this setup allows a completely unobstructed view when the capsule reaches the top of the flyer’s loop. The photostitch panorama image below shows what you can expect at the top most part of the revolution, shot at the center of the capsule as shown below:
Singapore Flyer Observation Wheel Panorama
The glass windows of the flyer are made with photography in mind, from my experience they are anti-glare tempered glass which do not offer any much visual artifacts or reflections in your images when shot through them. It also pays to get your shooting angle and background lighting minimal to reduce reflections as well. Nevertheless, expect to get rather good shots from the observation wheel itself. The speed of the flyer is slow enough of not having the basic need to induce speed shutter on your camera for the risk of blurred images, though the shaky hands of the photographer will tend to be more of an issue here. For multi-shot panoramas, do be quick when shooting them or your first and last image may appear out of perspective when the capsule differences in height between each of your successful shots. This defect however, will be more prominent on the 3 and 9 o’clock of the revolution than doing so at the top (12 o’clock).
Singapore Marina Bay City Skyline Sunset View
Coming down from the top, the next phase of the ride’s revolution will offer breathtaking views of the city area, particularly the Suntec, Millena walk areas on the right, the floating platform (or soccer field on the center stage) with the skyline of the central business district in the background. The Las Vegas sands integrated resort and the gardens by the bay will finish up the picture the left side of the picture as shown in the panorama above.
Going into the evening, the flyer decorative lights, situated on the inner circumference of the wheel itself will automatically come on, presumably timed with the street lights around the area. Here, the light strips mounted on the wheel itself are set to slowly fade into constituent soft colours of magenta, cyan and so on. Despite all these lighting, the insides of the capsules are all kept dimly lit, with the compass on the roof of the gondola cooly lit by LEDs. These ensures that your night vision won’t be hindered as well as reducing the reflection on the glass caused by these by ambient lights.
Ending the revolution
The ride of 30 minutes is timed perfectly right, not too short yet not too much of a long boring ride as well. The ride ends with a descent back into the boarding platform, only this time the doors on the other side are opened by a staff for your exit. The other door, which is the entrance will be opened for guests on the other end of the platform for boarding thereafter when your capsule is emptied.
The flyer and terminal building does looks rather spectacular and modern at night, with the overhanging windows and cool lighting, it paints a brief impression of a space port, well so as sci-fi fans may see it. Thereafter, you will be led down the exit, crossing the other exit aero bridge back into the flyer building where you will be greeted by the flyer gift shop. The store well, stocks any flyer related gift and souvenirs, from swarovski crystal laden depictions of the wheel to photos and apparel you name it.
The gift store is also where you can make purchased of your “GR8 Moment”, namely the photos you’ve taken before boarding your flight on the green screen. To order one or to view yours, simply pass the counter the identification chip the staff given you pre-flight where the id will be scanned and rendered photo displayed. These photos cost about $20 and the price varies depending on the photo sizes as well as the choice of packaging and photo frame which comes with it. Well personally speaking, I guess the post cards at a dollar each makes a better buy than the on-ride photo. After all you might get one free from the staff on your exit out of the store as well.
When you are done, it’s time to leave the store down to the 2nd floor, here is where you will pass by the hospitality and VIP suites situated along the walkway. Another exit escalator will bring you right to the ticketing booth on the ground floor.
The flyer experience was quite an eye opener for me and a rather pleasant visit as well. I guess the flyer company did a rather good job in the organization and coordination of the whole experience, the staff too are rather professional in my own opinion.
Being the tallest observation wheel in the world for now, I believe the flyer in Singapore will be here to stay, despite the fact that it will be overtaken in the neat future by both the Beijing Great Wheel at 208m tall and the Great Berlin Wheel at 185m meters tall (both also managed by great wheel corporation) putting the flyer as the third tallest in the world thereafter.
The thing to come to gripes however, and which strikes me the most is that the flyer will still largely cater much to first time riders or the tourist market, which I believe what it was conceived for. Being a local, I find it difficult picturing myself coming here for a second flight too soon, let be maybe one in the near future with friends and such. I believe the steep price is one of the main determinant factors as a ride for a family of 4 in my case will set you back roughly $120, which is indeed expensive given it’s opportunity costs.
But in the limelight, I believe the experience itself, coupled with the very friendly staff around makes this flight not only worth wide but a truly special one which simply paints uniquely Singapore.
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- Page 1/3 » Background of the Singapore flyer observation wheel
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