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Should You Feel Safe on a Roller Coaster?


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Another story about amusement ride injury data collected since 1990. Overall the story says rides are quite safe for the average person, and that most injuries are due to pre-existing conditions. Only mention for CedarFair parks are two incidents related to The WindSeeker and Xcelerator at Knott’s Berry Farm.

https://www.yahoo.com/travel/roller-coaster-safety-coney-island-115088399182.html

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Technically, the whole idea of a roller coaster is to make you feel unsafe without actually being unsafe. If your body realizes that it's safe, then it's not going to thrill you, since there's no need for adrenaline to flow through your body.

That said, you are much safer on almost any roller coaster than you are in a car, in a train, in a plane, or even walking.

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If your body realizes that it's safe, then it's not going to thrill you, since there's no need for adrenaline to flow through your body.

...thus explaining why I am slowly feeling less and less interested in thrill rides and am beginning to get drawn more to the smaller rides.

The ONLY thing at KI that still gives me an adrenaline rush is Xtreme Skyflyer. Even Drop Tower is beginning to become boring to me.

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Technically, the whole idea of a roller coaster is to make you feel unsafe without actually being unsafe. If your body realizes that it's safe, then it's not going to thrill you, since there's no need for adrenaline to flow through your body.

That said, you are much safer on almost any roller coaster than you are in a car, in a train, in a plane, or even walking.

This is why I roll around in a bubble.

It's the Moops!

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Familiarity breeds Contempt.

You can only ride the same thing so many times before it becomes a bore. My last couple trips to KI were just not the same as a couple years ago.

I could never be like Mr.Coleman and others that take thousands of rides on something.

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When I was still too young to die, I used to ride with UH1N Iroquois pilots who would "practice" mountainside RTT ("Return-To-Target") maneuvers in between convoys out in Montana (whether I liked it or not). Lots and lots of times. I learned to like it, and enjoyed the thrill. Yet I still enjoy the thrill of roller coasters, mostly because I don't have the element of fear of rotor blades coming off as the vehicle starts heading back uphill!

What's fun about them nowadays, is the endless possibility of that one or two "first-time-ever" riders, and their never-the-same-twice reactions that are forever entertaining.

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What's fun about them nowadays, is the endless possibility of that one or two "first-time-ever" riders, and their never-the-same-twice reactions that are forever entertaining.

Yes! It's such a treat to have been with my oldest nephew for all of his first rides at KI. His reaction during and his expression after were such a treat. His eyes couldn't have been bigger after his first ride on Drop Tower. His first ride on Banshee in the fall? I had one ecstatic kid! I'm looking forward to the 2nd and 3rd rounds of "firsts" with the youngest nephew and niece. The one is fearless and the other is going to need some coaxing and nonchalant attitude about how awesome a ride is. Just a few more inches and game on!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I didn't want to make a new thread for this question, and I figure this is at least a semi-appropriate place.

FoF still only running partial trains this year makes it at least appear that whatever issues caused that necessity in the first place have not been yet addressed. Many of us believe it is some sort of a lack of electrical power or stability, since it started after the unfortunate "fire" of the electrical box on the side of the building that kept FoF down entirely for part of last season. Also, it has been said that the ride operators' phone communication that sometimes delays a launch until some sort of clear is given, is related to coordinating Drop Tower's and FoF's power draws, so both don't happen at the same time.

It made me start wondering: what safety backups are in place for the possible (albeit unlikely) situation in which Drop Tower loses power between its release and reaching the brakes? The brakes are electromagnetic, are they not? I'm sure this is something that has to have been addressed, but not knowing exactly how it works makes me a little scared.

I have an elevator phobia to some degree (I still have nightmares about it), but I became a lot less afraid when I learned about how the Otis brake works. Now my main problem with them is my dislike of being in confined spaces with other people. Eiffel Tower's elevator is particularly bad for that, and that's one of the reasons I particularly would like to be able to enjoy the view I get from DT without worrying what could happen.

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First off, I'll admit that I know absolutely nothing about how Drop Tower works and can only speak of my knowledge in a general sense.  With that said, my understanding is that electromagnets are never used for the braking systems on amusement rides; those are all permanent magnetic fins.  In order for a train to continue through that stretch of track, the computer has to retract the brake fins (where possible - see also static fins on Intamin coasters).

 

The default state (with no power applied) is for the brake to be extended, active, or whatever you wish to call it.  The result is that, if no power is applied to the pneumatic cylinders, the brakes stay in the "on" position.  Presumably, old-school friction brakes operate in a similar fashion.  Power must be actively applied to open them up and allow a train through.  The rest of the time, they are ready to stop a train.  If the power's out, well, there's nothing to release the brakes.  Looking up an Otis brake, it sounds like this is the same concept.

 

Are the brake fins on Drop Tower retractable at all?

 

Naturally, my biggest question is why this only became a problem in 2014.  Did Banshee tie into the existing electrical infrastructure in that corner of the park, thus finally pushing demand above supply?

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http://www.KICentral.com/forums/index.php/topic/27505-drop-tower-mechanics/

 

 

KI's Drop Tower really isn't all that complicated(mechanically at least) and it really is a what you see is what you get type deal. At the top, there is nothing more than drive motors and large spools for the cables to wrap around. A ride to the top is achieved via a small elevator. At the bottom, there are hydraulic buffers which raise when the gondola is lifted up by the catch car. There are also load cells at the bottom, which do not move, that measure the weight of the gondola. The spinning of the gondola is achieved via motor driven rubber tires on the legs of the catch car with support wheels underneath the gondola. The catching and releasing of the gondola by the catch car is achieved with automated pneumatics. Sit and watch Drop Tower for a few cycles and you will be really astonished with how simply some things are done.

 

Edit: IMO, Intamin got it right with the KD model.

 

 

Drop Towers magnets are not electromagnets. They are "rare earth magnets" according to Intamin. In other words, they can not fail.

 

 

Interesting little read

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The only rides I feel unsafe on are Drop Towers, and sorta-kinda certain wooden coasters (not scared of dying, I'm just scared of hurting my neck as I often do.)

 

^^ Thanks to this info I feel less scared on Drop Towers now though! :)

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The only time I felt unsafe was 2 years ago at Cedar Point riding Mean Steak. The lap bar did not click the required 2x and tried to get a ride operator to adjust but they did not listen and gave the all clear and we went on our way. That same year was when that woman died at Six Flags in Texas. I feel lucky to survive but I did let the rides op know when we returned into the station.

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It also depends on your physical ability to keep your body under control against the various forces you'll encounter.  If you're, let's say, a 270-pound, 6'2" 46-year-old coaster fanatic who hasn't limbered up, nor stuck to his pre-season preparation diet very well (hypothetically speaking, of course), then even the mildest of category 5 coasters might have you doing the involuntary Chicken Dance for, say, three or four days (again, hypothetically speaking). The more in shape I am, the safer I feel.

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