Rickety, slow, and mind-numbingly dull, Ferris wheels are the black sheep of state fairs. Not the Singapore Flyer -- this engineering marvel lifts visitors high enough to spot neighbouring countries.
Located on the Southern shores of (where else) Singapore, the Singapore Flyer reaches 541 feet into the air -- 16 feet taller than the previous record-holder, China's Star of Nanchang. The wheel itself measures 492 feet in diameter and sits atop a three story terminal building.
Each of the Flyer's 28 fully-enclosed, climate-controlled, school bus-sized capsules can accommodate up to 28 riders apiece during the wheel's half hour revolution. What's more, each capsule is attached to the outer edge of the structure, providing an unobstructed view of the surrounding region and, on clear days when visibility tops 45km, riders are treated to views of the city-state as well as nearby Indonesian islands and Malaysia.
Designed by Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the Singapore Flyer opened in April, 2008 to great fanfare. Tickets for the first three nights of operation sold out nearly immediately, despite costing S$8888. Prices have come down significantly since then with a lap now starting at about S$30. "You can put over 1000 people an hour on the wheel," David Beevers, general manager of the Singapore Flyer, told the AFP. They'll need to maintain that pace to ensure that every one of the attraction's estimated 10 million annual visitors gets to take a spin.