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OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Scott Brazelton admits he’s crazy.
“My wife will tell you, I'm pretty much nuts,” said Brazelton.
But most will agree, he’s put his crazy to good use by building a backyard roller coaster for his 3-year-old son, Wyatt. The idea came from a likely source, a theme park.
“We took him to Disneyland a couple months ago and he just loved the roller coasters,” said Brazelton.
The Navy pilot said that’s when his research started.
“I researched it, and it actually wasn't that complicated,” said Brazelton.
But for safety sake, Brazelton also enlisted the help of Paul Gregg. Gregg is a Boeing engineer who lives in Seattle and has dedicated his retired life to building backyard roller coaster for his grandkids. He’s even written books and answered any questions Brazelton had about building a backyard coaster.
It took Brazelton about two months to finish the project, working on it on the weekends.
Brazelton gave Wyatt his first ride Sunday. Like any modern day father, he recorded the whole thing on a GoPro and posted it on Facebook. The video went viral, and the Brazeltons were contacted by several media outlets, and even agencies, who wanted to purchase and license their video.
“It was pretty crazy, felt like we were in the twilight zone,” said Brazelton.
He says the building process was fairly simple. Brazelton said Wyatt even helped him build the coaster.
“The thing was less than a thousand dollars,” said Brazelton. “The metal, the PVC was from Home Depot.”
Brazelton said he made the roller coaster cart out of a water barrel he bought at a homebrew supply store. Brazelton said he gave Wyatt the option to make the cart look like a rocket or plane. Since his dad is a pilot, Wyatt chose a plane.
“The front of the propeller is a cake pan,” said Brazelton. “It's just kind of pieced together.”
What does the coaster use for power? Just gravity. There’s no motor. Brazelton says the momentum of the coaster’s first hill pushes the cart through the course.
“I like my roller coaster,” said Wyatt after a couple of rides around the track.
The coaster already has a name: the Brazelton Barnstormer, after the stunt pilots. However, Brazelton says the name is a work in progress. He’s open to ideas to see what title may fit.
The coaster is small (it’s made for a 3-year-old after all). Its maximum weight is 65 pounds, which is perfect for Wyatt. He’s 35 pounds.
Brazelton expects Wyatt will grow out of the coaster in a couple of years. He hasn't ruled out building a bigger coaster when the time comes.