Harley Quinn at Six Flags America

I dare say Comrade Althoff will have something to say about this particular failure:


LostKause's avatar

Wow! That's kind of scary.

That's not normal, slight movement when the ride is in motion is expected, but this is something else all together

It looks like it hit a harmonic.

I started to ask if this was just someone posting a video of something normal and purporting that it’s a dangerous situation, but this is very strange.

Aaronosmer's avatar

Looks like Resonance. I admittedly know nothing about these rides, but wouldn't you estop in this scenario? It's almost as if the rides motor and brakes were engaged at the same time, at least it looks like that visually. Paging Rideman...

The ride might have been already E-stopped, but on many rides that doesn't necessarily mean everything gets shut off. Motors and brakes are still be needed to bring the ride to a controlled stop.

Could be the ride was E-stopped, but the program still has that motor above that wobbly support running. If that motor had a major issue where it started vibrating bad , it could be causing that resonance/wobble on the whole ride.

Last edited by Joe E.,

Notice the gondola is bouncing as well, and it looks like the other supports are also oscillating. What's missing here is context. Was the ride just ride-stopped or E-stopped? (Those usually use not just dynamic braking, but the motors will drive the ride to 0 RPM when demanded; but an E-stop would cut power to the ride and let it coast to a stop) Someone suggested that it was the drive system driving the ride to 0 but not knowing when it got there, causing it to hunt.

This is indeed an odd one, and without any real context I don't have any real answers. Did it stop suddenly?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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

Jeff's avatar

Here's a little more context.

At least from this story, we can understand that the computer shut down the ride. I've seen a Huss giant shut down, and I seem to recall that it just did a free swing until it stopped. The vibration here, especially if biased to one side, implies that something unevenly was actively slowing it, or the motors couldn't cleanly engage. Who knows. It ain't normal.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

The question is, was the vibration caused by the sudden stop, or did the vibration cause the computer to order the stop?

I'm going to guess that this ride has a multi-motor electric drive, and probably has no brakes; these drive systems can deliver full torque at 0 RPM, and in some cases can deliver that 0 RPM to a specific shaft position. Which could be the whole problem here; I saw in another forum someone speculating that the drive might be hunting for the zero position. I'd think once it gets that close the failure mode would be to kill the motors entirely and let it coast to a stop.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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

Jeff's avatar

Or, with drive motors on both sides, what if they fail to coordinate with some level of precision? That was the flaw with the giant top spin, though when it couldn't match motors, it just quit and let it free swing.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

kpjb's avatar

There are four motors on the ride. If this was during testing, I'd say that one of them is wired wrong and driving in the wrong direction, but there are people on that ride so presumably that would have been discovered previous to this happening. Therefore I'd go with one of them driving while the others aren't. Curious if this is at the beginning or end of the ride cycle.


I think this is the best ride at Six Flags America now (surpassing Superman Ride of Steel.) This ride opened a few months ago and it is awesome. Huge height (150 feet), speed (70 MPH), weightlessness, super smooth, a great ride.

However, as a local pass member who has been there every weekend since March, this ride "breaks down" all the time. I can't think of a visit where the loading crew didn't have to call in maintenance to fix an issue. It's usually a quick fix. Maintenance shows up, they put in their special keys, run a test ride with no riders, then back in session. I know it's a new ride and they need to get the kinks out, but so far it's an every day thing.

I have also seen where the loading crews were not properly distributing the load around the 40 seats. When the park 1st opens, the 40 seats are not fully filled. As an example, today I rode a ride with 25 riders and the operator loaded us up seats 1-25. He should have split up the ride 1-12 on one half, and 13-25 on the other side of the ride. I know this, because they stopped the ride before running, and made half the users change seats to rebalance the ride. This only occurs early in the day as this ride has a 90 minute wait the rest of the day and "balancing" is not a problem.

DoubleMeatTaco said:

However, as a local pass member who has been there every weekend since March....

Looking to wind up at this park while in the area for the latter half of a day, probably 4 hours ish Tuesday (so no rope drop opportunity). I've never been before. Any insight on strategy based on recent experience?

My priority would on the coasters, ideally a lap on each. Especially Wild One, Roar, ROS... Less so the Great America ones.

Last edited by Kstr 737,

If you are going to go for a four hour window, always go there as soon as the park opens at 11:00 am. You don't want to pick the late afternoon hours, because that's what most people do. You will be standing in hour long lines for one ride. Trust me I have tried all times of the day. That first hour you should be able to hit all coasters that are open. Make a bee line to Gotham Park (which is at the back of the park) where you can ride Harley Quinn, Superman, Joker Jinx (it's been broken the past two weeks), Wonder Woman, Firebird and Batwing as many times as you want for the first hour or so. By 1:00 pm the park will be filling up and lines will be starting. You could then hit Roar and Wild One. Get ready to be shaken to the core. I won't ride those two anymore :) I'm usually leaving the park by 2:00 pm with 8-10 rides under my belt. Living 20-minutes away has it's perks I guess.

I seem to recall that Kennywood is still having problems with theirs and it's been there for nine years....

To back up my claims at Six Flags America.

-- Arrived at 10:40 a.m. Allowed into park right on time.

Saturday July 10th, 2010

-- 11:00 a.m. - Firebird (Twice)

-- 11:20 a.m. - Harley Quinn

-- 11:30 p.m. - Joker's Jinx (Front row)

-- 11:45 a.m. - Superman (Three times in a row, different seats)

-- 12:30 p.m. - Wonder Woman (Once – Why not lol)

-- 12:45 p.m. - Harley Quinn - (Two times) After the first ride, the ride stopped (as usual) they needed maintenance to come in with their special keys to restart the ride. 20-minutes later ride number two. This ride has been CLOSED since July 4th. I asked one of the operators if she knew the issue. She said she did “but was not allowed to comment.” I said “Really?!?” Yep, no comment. Wow, what is up with that? It doesn’t have wheels, lift chains, I am super curious as what can go wrong on this type of ride that can knock it out of service for a week.

--1:30 p.m. - Wanted to hit Firebird one more time, nope, closed for issues. Rolling out of the park and the exit guy always gives me a confused look when I tell him I don’t need a bracelet as I am not coming back. I am the only person going to their car, while thousands of people are still streaming in. The parking lot if full. Even the overfull lot in just about full. Let me just say that if you ever come to this park and see this situation, turn your car away and go home. I am serious. Once the parking lot hits the over fill lot, it means “this is NOT where you want to be right now.”

-- So, I hit 10-rides in the first two hours, not bad. I just did the math, and according to https://queue-times.com/en-US if I went to the park at 3:00 p.m. today, it would have taken me over 11-hours to ride the same 10-rides. Harley Quinn was at 100-minutes, Superman 50-minutes. Considering the park closes at 7:00 p.m., I could have been on 2-3 rides at best.

-- There is no doubt about it that this “plan” works. I did the same last weekend on the 4th of July and knocked out the same number of rides and the park was SUPER packed. It works.

-- I STRONGLY suggest spring and fall for this park. 60% of the people are coming for the waterpark, so they’re out of the picture. The weather is so much better, low humidity, 70-degees. I have seen some unbelievable great days in the spring in fall.

So I did wind up going last Tuesday evening. I Showed up about 3:30 pm. It was very very hot and somewhat quiet. I got in line for Wild One it went down JJ was down. Batwing was down. Got in line for RoS.

Then fate took a turn... Caught Batwing reopening. Then JJ. Then Wild One. Rode Roar and Mind Eraser. Everything was 15 minutes or less. That point had time to revisit Iron Wolf. And take a second front seat lap on Wild One. The laterals on that thing are awesome. All in under 3 hours.

I got very lucky. (Let's see if I can repeat this week at Darien). Nothing in the park was great quality wise but it wasn't the terrible take I've heard over the years either. Employees were pleasant and mostly hauling ass (in 95 degree heat) to turn one trains ops everywhere.

Both wooden coasters are very underated.

Last edited by Kstr 737,

That was my experience with the park at the end of March. I certainly didn't leave disappointed. I guess it's a matter of crowd levels and expectations. If you go in expecting Cedar Point or even SFGAm, for that matter, you will be sorely disappointed. It's a mid-level Six Flags park with off the shelf coasters that are nothing to write home about. I'll certainly go back next time I'm in the area with a day to kill.

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