CoasterBuzz Video: Opening Thunderbird

Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 7:53 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana is a roller coaster enthusiast favorite for its intense wooden roller coasters. For 2015, the park has opened Thunderbird, a launched B&M wing roller coaster. We had a chance to talk to some of the people at the park who helped make the ride a reality.

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Friday, May 8, 2015 8:31 AM

"Thunderbird: Inspired by Ewoks"®

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Friday, May 8, 2015 9:22 AM

Nice work Jeff, excellent video!

I really like the flywheel concept. Seems much less complicated than the hydraulic-turbine-powered winch used for the Intamin rocket coasters.

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Friday, May 8, 2015 9:33 AM

To be clear, the flywheels don't really launch the train, the LSM's do. The LSM's just need electricity to do it, and they're not willing to rely on the capacity of the electric utility to do it. I believe the Intamin rides using LIM/LSM systems use some kind of capacitors as intermediate storage instead of flywheels.

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Friday, May 8, 2015 10:49 AM

Premier does it the same way. I wonder if they use the same company for the launch design.

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Friday, May 8, 2015 3:17 PM

Remarkable job, Jeff - thanks so much for taking the time to create this. (Those red-nosed interviews will always remind me we were under a frost advisory on media preview day. Oh, and that we're in the town of Santa Claus.) #WillPower

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Friday, May 8, 2015 10:34 PM

Cool stuff. Nice to have the insight into the coaster industry side, but equally nice to have the insight into the human side.

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Friday, May 8, 2015 11:03 PM

I love how the video turned out, and Andy's right. Their thought process and the events during the planning stages is very interesting to me. The girls seem so genuine, and it's nice to get a coaster story featuring park operators that doesn't sound like canned corporate speak.

And I'm in it! (don't blink...)

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Friday, May 8, 2015 11:43 PM

The "kids" have serious instinct, and that's clear when you talk to them. I get the feeling that they were absolutely paying attention to their dad, and they have a humility about them today as they learn from others on their board, as well as senior staff. The park is in good hands.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015 9:11 AM

Here's a timely video showing how much energy a flywheel can store:

There isn't a spring or anything here, that thing is moving on the power stored in the flywheel. Now for Thunderbird, imagine that wheel, which was spun up by motors, is connected to a generator, and you get the idea of transferring electrical energy to mechanical energy and back.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015 10:03 AM

It's kind of like how the eddy current brakes work, except instead of slow the train down the generator slows the flywheel down, and instead if dissipating the energy as heat, the energy gets routed to the LSMs.

Jeff, do you know if the same motors used to spin up the flywheels are switched to generators, or do they use separate generators?

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Saturday, May 9, 2015 11:08 AM

That's a question for James Olliver, but I imagine it's possible. I think hybrids and electric cars work that way.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015 11:26 AM

Some of my toys I had when I was a kid seemed to work the same way the tank in the video Jeff just shared works. Is it the same thing?

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Saturday, May 9, 2015 12:19 PM

You're right that is how hybrids work. The driving motor turns into a braking generator whenever the brakes are applied and the energy is sent back to the batteries.

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Monday, May 11, 2015 5:31 PM

Excellent video. Perfect mix of enthusiast details and backstory of the decision process. I even teared up a bit in spots.

This park really does try to do things right. Moving the swing ride into that great looking plaza is another example. It adds another ride that family can ride into the area and it's a much better placement of the ride then it's old location. Now it has great views on all sides and just seems like it belongs there. I hope that plaza looks as good in person as it does in the videos.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015 10:13 AM

Thunderbird Plaza is awesome. It is a great shady spot to just hang out in.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015 8:09 PM

Is it? One of the hard things to measure when I shot the video was how the trees affected the area and the ride, because they had not yet filled in.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015 12:14 AM

July 6 can't get here soon enough!

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Sunday, May 17, 2015 6:46 PM

Just watched the video (I'm an old fuddy-duddy; I don't like having to watch moving pictures on tiny screens). Well done! It was fascinating to hear them speak at length about the ride.

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