Flight of Fear Block Brake

Friday, October 20, 2006 3:27 PM
Actually Beast entered it's brake shed no harder than say, Phoenix/Twister or some other skid braked coasters. The Beast operated for years with em without inccident. From what I understand it was more a missjudgement on the operators part but I don't know that for a fact and won't claim so here. Just from what I understand about it's old system is the operator controled the final blocks or could hold them open manually.


Friday, October 20, 2006 3:56 PM
Chuck, although I don't remember them faulting the colission on the ride opeartors. My understanding was the ride was in the process of being shutdown due to the rain. The Beast blocking system with the skids was a bit conservative in that only one train could be on that long brake run. So if a train was on lift 2 and another was still on the brake run, lift 2 would stop and setup. The colission if I remember correctly took place in the station. So the other train must have skidded past the complete brake run which is really hard to do, so it must have been raining rather hard.

I am not sure if it would have articulating trains it could run without the brakes. I do remember one of the people that designed the ride (Jeff Gramke, the other being Al Collins), discussing that the banking initially was not enough. This was because they used John Allens formulas and the Beast was just faaster than any of those coasters and more banking was needed. But I believe the rides first offseason they went ahead and corrected and added more banking on some of the turns. Alot of rides have articulating trains yet have trim brakes. Mean Streak, Texas Giant, Rattler, Timber Wolf, etc.

Back to the discussion at hand, which is Flight of Fear. I do wonder if PKD's version has the block brake on or the other Six Flags outdoor versions do. To me the maintenance argument doesn't make a whole alot of sense for Flight of Fear. Steel coasters just don't seem to have the day to day wear and tear of a wooden coaster. I am not sure if I can think of another steel coaster that comes to a complete stop at the Block Brake. Montu and Alpengeist are braked hard on their block brake, but not to a complete stop. Those parks again appeal more to families. Just interesting to what the reason is behind the block brake being on so hard. *** Edited 10/20/2006 7:56:42 PM UTC by Beast Fan***

Friday, October 20, 2006 4:12 PM
Something else to consider with The Beast...

When the current trains were added to the ride, each car had three seats, three lap bars, and four brake pads attached to the bottom rails of the cars.

Subsequently, the train was converted to new high-back seats, and new seat dividers, which added weight to the train.

Later, the three lap bars in each car were replaced with six lap bars, each bar bigger and heavier than the original, and each mechanism bigger and heavier than the original. They didn't even manage to get rid of the solenoids. Because of the design of the new lap bars, they also added grab bars to the train. This would have meant even more added weight to the train.

Later still, the brake pads were removed from the bottom of the train in favor of the new brake fins, which again, add more weight to the train.

Finally, they added seat belts, with mounting brackets and retractors, which doesn't seem like much, but that's still about 5 pounds for each seat...that's 30 pounds per car right there.

So even if you discount the fact that Americans on the whole are getting bigger, that train is significantly heavier today than it was when it started running on the coaster (anybody know what year? I don't...). That probably has a bearing on the amount of structural and track work the ride requires today versus a decade ago.

As for Flight of Fear, I know that one had structural issues with the track itself, but I thought the track ties they added throughout the ride were supposed to fix that...

Another possibility: Perhaps they are trying to avoid damage to certain parts of the *train*. Does anybody really know what happened to prompt Six Flags to shut down all their Premier launched coasters this season, and could KECO*'s treatment of Flight of Fear be related?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

*KECO: The decision to use heavy brakes on Flight of Fear was made before Cedar Fair took over, but since CBS is out of the picture now, and since I can't entirely blame Cedar Fair yet, I'm going to blame this on KECO, which was the pre-Paramount parent company. Shorthand to refer to the Paramount Parks side of Cedar Fair...

Friday, October 20, 2006 4:14 PM
Actually they opened the ride without the banking and did that later.

Beast sould release from the second lift if the first two of three blocks in the station were clear. I remember comming in many times and stacking behind a train in the station (Load area)

PKI's practice has pretty much been a manditory two block clearance on all it's coasters (Meaning there is one clear block between two operating trains. If I remember right Beast Blocks ran top of lift two to 100ft inside brake shed, 100ft inside brake shed to end of load platform and load platform to first lift.

I just remember someone who said that they had to hold four buttons down for the train to proceed from the first stop point in the shed. Not blaiming anyone but for a train to skid (OFF THE RAILS) the 300ft it did just don't seem right. even with rains. SKIDS lift the train off the rolling surface, I suppose it could have hydroplaned that far. Just seems weird.

Chuck, who from my understanding PKD's version always used the midcourse while PKI's reopened after the retrofit without it. In fact they totally disconnected it after they went to two train op.

Friday, October 20, 2006 5:03 PM
matt.'s avatar

Beast Fan said:

Those coasters you listed are at big parks. However those parks cater to thrill seakers and don't draw nearly as much of a family crowd as kings island does. Cedar Point and Most of the Six Flags parks add coaster after big coaster. Cedar Point though operates their rides much better and is much cleaner and better guest service.

None of this explains why FoF's MCBR engages so hard.

Your initial arguement was that the general public can't handle a more intense ride so big parks are building tamer rides.

I went on to point out several coasters built in the past few years, all at big parks, all of which cater to families to some degree or another, all of which are, by my standards, very very intense.

I wouldn't be surprised if Fof's second half *was* indeed tamed down partially in part from rider complaints (not saying it's likely, just saying it's possible) but to imply that there's some sort of industry-wide trend here based on this one ride just doesn't stick, IMO.

You said yourself -

"I really feel that the general public can't handle an intense ride anymore, and the larger parks are forced to design a tamer ride"

and I'd be more than happy to have you point out what pattern you see that leads you to that. I think it's an interesting discussion but I just don't see where you're coming from.

Friday, October 20, 2006 6:36 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar I obviously missed something somewhere. What's the difference between an articulated and non-articulated car?

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Friday, October 20, 2006 6:49 PM
Partial articulation is the rear wheels pivot, Kind of steering with the track instead of sliding around on them which is what a non articulate does. Non articulate are basically four fixed road wheels.

Fully articulated are like GCII's MF trains which is by no means a new design. Prior and Church came up with them in the 20's and each car (Row of seating)is able to steer and has on less axle and set of roadwheels (Except for the lead car)

Ridemans site has a full explination with diagrams and it's well done.

Rideman, I posted that reply while you made your last one so I didn't catch you (Weight and other Premier problems) speel

Very interesting and indeed they could be heavier, However remember, They also removed two seats, One lapbar and one divider per car when they went from 4 bench and cut them to three. (KI did this themselves)

Beast always had dividers but did not have highbacks or individual lapbars. Or padding on the front of each car and side of each car.

As for FOF, Didn't PKI's stay operational the whole time? Perhaps it is why they turned the trim up although i was told by my brother that it wasn't on last year.


Friday, October 20, 2006 8:06 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar You mean the rear wheels bank or they yaw? Or both?

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Friday, October 20, 2006 8:19 PM
Oh, I forgot, They also added a car to each train on Beast prior to it's original opening instead of running four trains they run three longer ones.

So Rideman could be onto something that the trains are significantly heavier than the rides original design.


Friday, October 20, 2006 8:43 PM
On the Beast collision, one train was approaching the holding skid just outside the station. This is the one that got wet and failed to halt the train, leading to the low speed collision.
Friday, October 20, 2006 10:01 PM
So it was released or cleared from the stop brake?

The brake next to the lift was a full stop but from what I understand could be over ridden to let the train into the aproach block?

It's all speculation on my part, but what the aproach would normally stop the train at, Might not have if the train was let in that section with any more speed than normal.

Chuck, then again, it's possible it just skidded through.

Friday, October 20, 2006 10:08 PM
Yeah, what I've been told is that in order to prevent the third train from setting up on lift 2 in the rain, they released the stop brake to bring the train forward and hold it on the station approach brake, which is the one that it skidded through.

The third train made it into the stop brake and held there normally, so I guess the approach brake was the only one that was wet enough to fail.

Monday, October 23, 2006 2:52 PM
To answer a question up there...

PTC's articulated cars have a rear axle that can roll +/- 3 degrees. (A little more on Gwazi and The Voyage). None of PTC's axles can yaw, although on the junior cars, all four road wheels can steer.

Chuck referred earlier to my somewhat dated essay on coaster car designs, which can be found here.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, October 23, 2006 6:10 PM
Actually Rideman, PKD had the MCBR on pretty hard on anaconda even before CBS/paramount aqquired the park so I guess it's always been a KECO/Paramount policy for them...avalanche appears to be the only ride in the park with an MCBR that doesn't "halt" the train through that stretch while anaconda & FOF do.

FOF requires the MCBR,not only due to the three train ops it was designed to handle but also due to the odd location of the exit platform....unlike JJ or poltergiest the trains on FOF are unloaded on the holding brake just before the turn back into the station...I just would like to see them lighten up on the use of the brake in the future because that just kills the ride when they halt the train like that.

Monday, October 23, 2006 6:16 PM
Jeff's avatar The exit location has nothing to do with it. They can park at train down track when there's one in unload. I've been there before.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Monday, October 23, 2006 6:33 PM
matt.'s avatar Right, if the position of the unload was such an issue, the ride wouldn't have run without the MCBR on hard previously.
Monday, October 23, 2006 9:12 PM
There are three blocks in itself on the exit ramp, One in the area between unload and one in the station to the midcourse. The ride has six blocks and was made for four trains. They usually only run two on PKI's anymore.

The brake as far as blocking purposes is totally unnessesary.

Chuck, whos come into the final brake only to have to wait for the train in the unload to clear before there is a block inbetween, The block where trains are switched out.


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