Nevis Catapult

Case study .

Design a thrill ride like no other?
Yeah we can.

When the team at AJ Hackett Bungy wanted a new thrill ride for the action-packed Nevis Valley, they came to us first. We had helped them solve some tricky problems in the past so they knew we could make it happen.

Located in Queenstown, New Zealand, the Nevis Valley already had the highest bungy jump in New Zealand and the most famous swing in the world, but it was ready for something completely new.

This was set to be another excellent collaboration project. A job like this needs several teams to work as one.

And the fun began…

The first ‘no holds barred’ brainstorm session saw the Holmes Solutions and AJ Hackett teams coming up with some crazy ideas! It’s amazing what the mind can dream up when it has the freedom to think big.

Our team of innovators took the best ideas and created scale models and ride simulations, while our researchers got inside the minds of thrill-seekers to see what gets them going.

Armed with research and simulations, we had a second meeting to evaluate ride enjoyment and technical innovation.

We weighed up the ideas and decided on a winner: a ‘slingshot’ experience where riders are ‘catapulted’ horizontally across the valley. The inspiration came from a story Henry van Asch told us. In his youth, ‘catapulted’ between two bridges on his mountain bike using a bungy cord. When it comes to adrenaline hits, this guy knows his stuff.

Job’s on. Take your places everyone.

Our design team calculated ride forces, checked applicable standards and did tests to eliminate technical risks. We completed a hazard analysis and constantly improved the design.

At Holmes Solutions we use an evidence-based design approach. We don’t just rely on computer simulations and calculations – we do real-life testing to get real performance data and use this data to refine our understanding.

We issued drawings and specifications for manufacture, working with suppliers so they knew about standards and risk mitigation. We made sure systems were manufactured as per design, and with compliance paperwork.

When it was time for full-scale testing, we had just the place for it.

In Christchurch, New Zealand, away from prying eyes, we have a large indoor test lab – perfect for testing world-first technology. Our master craftsmen built a full-scale launch area. This meant we were not at the mercy of the weather and we could quickly make design and control system adjustments.

The ability to test a full system without disrupting throughput at the adventure site is one of the reasons our clients love working with us.

Our clients also like that we are with them every step of the way. For ride commissioning, we:

  • Provided assembly drawings and installation checklists
  • Measured ride dynamics for customer safety and standards compliance
  • Looked at ride flow
  • Reviewed hazard analysis and mitigations
  • Helped with customer experience and safety
  • Provided operation and maintenance documentation
  • Helped with compliance submission for regulatory sign-off
  • Provided spare parts lists and ongoing support.

The test data helped us refine the design. With numerous tests with barrels and crash test dummies, the intricate control system and safety features were honed until we were confident the system was safe for human trials.


The project was a soaring success! We helped the team invent, design, and commission their latest thrilling experience and it’s an adrenaline rush like no other. Riders are ‘catapulted’ from 0 to 60mph (100km/hr) in 1.5 seconds, soaring across the valley.

People from around the globe are already flocking to Queenstown to get their hearts racing!

We live and breathe innovation; embracing exciting opportunities.

Contact us if you have an idea we can help bring to life!

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