CoasterBuzz Podcast #147 posted

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Jeff, Mike and Pat review this week's news in the amusement industry.

  • New ride at Universal Studios Florida still has no opening date. Jeff hears that they're trying hard to get it open by the end of July.
  • Beech Bend invites people to ride one of Michael Jackson's Sea Dragon. Coverage of the dead singer has been strange.
  • Kings Dominion's GM is profiled, we like the story. And she gets a new Intamin coaster that will be really big.
  • No one is talking about the new Carowinds ride yet. Why not?
  • Hall of Presidents reopens at Magic Kingdom. Gonch says they can't quite capture Obama's cool in animatronic form.
  • Now you can dress up as a pirate, with the whole family at Magic Kingdom. Which princess would you be?
  • The chuckin' baby park, Hong Kong Disneyland, wants to boost their attendance by 60%.
  • Merlin Entertainment is considering Central Florida for the second US Legoland park. How cool is the Millennium Falcon Lego set?
  • Stupid people buy tickets from the back of a van (metaphorically), and they're shocked that the tickets aren't valid.
  • Worker hit by train in Dueling Dragons field at Islands of Adventure. Jeff hears the guy was supposed to be there, but it creates more questions than answers.
  • Universal partially wins court battle over property taxes.
  • S&S gets a couple of roller coasters right. Hooray! Restraints sure are goofy. Intamin's "decorative" shoulder restraints might just be the most evolved.
  • Monorail crash at Disney World results in one dead operator. Still putting together what happened.
  • CoasterBuzz Club will be going up in price soon, to $25, after eight years at $20. You can still join or renew today at the old rate. Jeff explains why the increase is coming.
  • The Fall Affair at Holiday World promises to be a big deal. Register today! Gonch will be there if others show up.

Link: CoasterBuzz Podcast

The Mole's avatar

Ok, I'll be honest. I'm waiting till the prices *go up* before I get my membership. You guys deserve the extra $5.

Vater's avatar

So am I...unless the price doesn't go up before next March. :)

I just don't understand why DD is set up (apparently) that the tech had to be where he was while the thing was running. Or am I totally misunderstanding things?

And as far as the OTS restraints on Fahrenheit, they gave me a nice feeling of security going up that vertical lift...

Jeff's avatar

Nope, you're understanding correctly. He was in fact supposed to be in that area. Certainly not close enough to be hit by the train, but that there's no distinction at all in that ride field is what troubles me.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Jason Hammond's avatar

I rode Steel Hawg last year the Weekend Hurricane Ike dumped on us. I really enjoyed it. I didn't mind the Shoulder Restraints at all. They adjust up and down in the same way the S&S lap restraint.

880 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

^^And it brought me a smile as I thought about my favorite, Skyhawk!!

Gonch I'm planning on going to HW. Does that guarantee your appearance. I hate to bring it up but you do owe Jeff after skipping out of his wedding. ;-)

^^I think Gonch still needs Jandis' confirmation!

I am 90% in for HW.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

I'm gonna see what I can do as it gets closer.

Jeff's avatar

Don't underestimate the draw that time of year if you want to stay at the campground.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Jeff: To answer one of the questions you raised in the podcast, I have a surprising answer.

ASTM F 2291, which is the design standard for amusement rides has a lot to say about fences. Most famously, it says:

14.1 When fences and gates are designed and manufactured to provide protection to spectators or patrons, or guardrails are used to inhibit falls from elevation in primary circulation areas for patrons, they shall be constructed to meet the following minimum requirements in 14.2-14.7 (...)

The requirements listed in sections 14.2-14.7 are very specific technical requirements for height, openings, strengths, handrail designs, and so forth.

What is ABSENT from F 2291, and additionally from F 770, which is the operations standard, is any requirement *at all* that there be a fence around the ride. About the closest it comes is in Section 6:

6.6.1 Amusement rides and devices shall be designed to provide a patron clearance envelope adequate to minimize the opportunity for contact between the patron and other objects where said contact is likely to cause injury.

Of course, other patrons, workers, etc. may be considered "other objects" and fencing may be used to keep the clearance envelope clear. This is intentional because there exist rides which cannot in any practical way be fenced (the Universal Hollywood tram tour, for instance)

In the case of Dueling Dragons, the ASTM rules are important because in Florida, parks with more than 1,000 employees are exempt from the State amusement ride rules, so it doesn't matter what the Department of Agriculture requires. The ASTM rules are industry standards and only have the force of law where the law gives them that authority.

But it doesn't stop there. In the Dueling Dragons incident, we're not talking about protecting patron spectators from the ride, as the entire ride is segregated from public circulation areas. And from what you said in the podcast, the worker was not clipped by a rider, so apparently the wayward staff member does not pose a risk to riders. But clearly there is an issue with making sure the staff knows where the danger zones are under the ride, and that is an OSHA issue. Neither ASTM nor the Department of Agriculture are going to require that the ride be fenced, but I expect OSHA very much requires the use of machine guards to protect employees.

That's a very long-winded way of saying I think you're right, there should be some kind of guarding and/or demarcation to make sure that employees necessarily working in a kill zone don't get killed. But the authority that is going to require that is not ASTM or the amusement ride rules, it is going to be workplace safety rules, meaning OSHA or its equivalent.

Oh, and on the subject of rider restraint designs, I am a big fan of the lap bars on Pilgrims Plunge. They are a nice improvement over even the Dragster design, and a lot better than that shoulder bar on Maverick.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

rollergator's avatar

My short way of saying "I agree, Dave" is to say that NO ONE - employee, manager, or patron - should be capable of walking into a kill zone (to use your phrase) without some sort of demarcation. A fence is an actual physical barrier that may not serve the parks needs considering the nature of that land-bowl, but even some sort of painted lines would have indicated where no one should be when the ride is in operation.

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Jeff's avatar

I figured you'd have some good data for that, Dave. It does seem that they should have some fencing in that area, which Universal of all places could make thematic or blend. Heck, that stuff that Cedar Fair uses all over the place is fairly attractive (with the exception of the crap they put around Corkscrew outside the station... WTF?).

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

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