Heads up: SkyRush down for 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:29 AM

sirloindude said:

I don't think the SROS issues were necessarily the fault of the company. Those seemed to be more along the lines of ride operators allowing people who should not have ridden the coasters to ride them.

I could agree that it was solely the operator's fault if it were an isolated incident of a rider being ejected from the train. However, I believe design plays some role in this as well. The common thread among all those rider ejection was a lap bar design that did not have a clearly defined minimum position for passengers. The original Intamin lap bar was certainly not idiot proof, and I think on some levels, a good design makes it as simple as possible. Again, B&M got it right the first time with the design of a lap bar: The minimum closed position for their Hyper coasters is marked with red paint at the base of the restraint column. If an operator can't see red, the restraint isn't closed far enough. http://www.rcdb.com/3621.htm?p=18655

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:40 AM

And the amount of times I've seen an operator look for the red dot? Zero.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:40 AM

It's just the nature of the different restraints, though. Specifically in reference to the SROS ejections, at least two (the disabled pax at DL and SFNE) were pretty much confirmed to have been operational problems, or at least that's the impression I got. I don't see anything about an ejection on the SFA version, btw. I see two DL ejections.

Again, I don't think their restraints were so much poorly designed as much as they were simply different from their B&M counterparts. B&M's are more accomodating, yes, but that doesn't mean Intamin's were defective. It's harder to find someone who can't fit on a B&M hyper than it is for an Intamin, but again, if Intamin did not build it to accomodate certain people and a park employee allows one of those employees on, it isn't Intamin's fault. I'm willing to bet that a ride like SFOG's Goliath could eject someone with no legs if they were to actually ride it.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:54 AM

B&M's rides are too forceless to throw a rider. :)

The Intamin restraints failed to secure a rider of certain proportions as well. The lap bar didn't connect with the lap and the rider was thrown out from the side. You see Six Flag's reaction here, and Cedar Point's reaction with the walk of shame.

Last edited by eightdotthree, Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:57 AM
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Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:20 AM

sirloindude, I'm totally messing with you. I just like to get into the spirit of discussion.

I still maintain that there needs to be some sort of safety mechanism designed into rides so that when they do fail, that people and the machinery aren't further damaged. Sounds like this topic is beginning to evolve into restraints and safety, but to get back to the topic. I would say kudos to whoever made the decision to shutdown SkyRush before a failure occurred.

Arrow isn't completely immune to failures. The Orient Express at World's of Fun suffered a major failure and the train derailed. Thankfully nobody was killed. Can you blame Arrow for the failure? The ride had been running for 18 years prior to that accident where SkyRush has been barely open a season. Huge difference is that SkyRush is probably a more aggressive ride (I haven't been on it so I don't know) and is exerting more forces on the trains and had probably logged thousands of rides per train for the season.

The point that Jeff is making is that while no manufacturer is immune to failures and rides experiencing downtime, Intamin rides tend to have first year jitters. Almost like some of the design is being done "after" the ride is built and sometimes "after" the ride has opened.

~Rob

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:25 AM

I know you were joking with me. I think I voted up your post. I was hoping for a wittier retort of my own, but as I said, I am not Gonch. :)

I agree with Jeff and almost everyone who has been saying that Intamin rides tend to have more first-year jitters than other manufacturers, and I find some of those jitters to be pretty silly. Boats that turn into submarines? Seriously?

I just went on the defense for Intamin when it appeared to me that they were being made out to be the only ones with problems and that such-and-such company was perfect, and I wanted to clarify. Is Intamin the only one with problems that could be considered stupid and the only ones who have problems on a consistent basis? Maybe. Are they the only ones with problems, period? Certainly not. That's all I'm saying, but I expect that most share that sentiment.

Last edited by sirloindude, Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:26 AM
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Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:58 AM

This has probably been stated before, but while I agree that Intamin's have far more first-year jitters and problems in general, they're doing so much more new. They're constantly changing restraint designs, train designs, track, supports, launches, launch technology, lift technology, track elements, intensity, etc. While I don't even agree with all that they change, more problems are naturally going to come with that territory.

B&M seems to be a company that is designing rides with their customers in mind: "How can we build this ride with maximum reliability and capacity, while having low operating costs and the highest ROI for our customers?"

Intamin seems to be a company that is designing rides more for their own sport and passion: "Alright, that mostly works and is really fun...objective complete. Now let's change everything and start over with this new idea we have running."

What are the results? Ride a B&M invert from 1994 or one from today, and only enthusiasts are going to notice the subtle differences. They work well, the parks are happy, and riders seem to be enjoying them. Most of their alternate coaster designs seem like modifications rather than some new wild idea: inverted, stand-up, floorless, flyer....and they all work well. While riding different coasters from the same B&M breed, I'm usually comparing them to ones I've already ridden rather than being wowed by a new experience.

Ride an early Intamin and compare it to one from today. Bobsled coaster to giga/strata/twisted impulse/zac spin/prefab wood....is this the same company? Some are pretty problematic and costly to operate, yet most deliver a crazy new ride experience. I can ride two Intamins from the same general breed, and I feel like I'm riding something completely new (compare MF to I-305 for example).

As a rider/enthusiast, I'd choose an Intamin any day over a B&M. Their rides usually deliver a whole new experience that I'm willing to travel for. But if I was running a park, I'd have a difficult debate in purchasing an Intamin. On one hand, you could strike gold with a coaster than works well and is a knock-out. On the other hand, you might be stuck with something that is unique and fun, yet uncomfortable, problematic, costly, and with lower-than-advertised capacity.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 12:07 PM

Are they the only one with consistent problems that kill or maim? Definitely!

And since this topic is about Skyrush, I rode it exactily one time. Some of the ride was fun. Some of the ride seemed to me to be too unnaturial to the body. At one point, there is one quick turn in which every single body in the train gets snapped to the side out of the backs of their seats. The airtime was nice though, except for the restraints cutting into my thighs.

At the end of the ride, while my train was in the brakes before the station, and before the second train was able to begin going up the lift, the ride went down for maintenance. I sat there for about 20 minutes with the lap bar cutting into my legs. It hurt very much. I have a problem in one of my legs that that situation was not good for also.

And what about that crappy station design? Like Millennium Force, Skyrush could have been designed to run three trains. Judging by the slow moving line, it could have used it.

And, it kind of ruins the nice view of Comet's first half.

It looks nice from the new path, but the ride just isn't awesome like a new intamin should be.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 2:06 PM

eightdotthree said:

And the amount of times I've seen an operator look for the red dot? Zero.

I'm pretty sure there's a fail-safe in place that prevents the train from being dispatched until all of the bars are lowered past the painted line. The line exists so that when the ride's computer signals that that a bar in row 4 is open, he/she can easily identify which one.

Most of the Intamin ejections were pretty clearly due to a design issue. How do you build a ride, place restrictions on rider size, but give the operators absolutely no way to determine whether the rider meets the size requirements? Other companies designed their restraints so that if a rider was too large to safely ride, the restraint couldn't lock (usually referred to as a "go/no go system"). Intamin rides didn't have such a fail-safe; their lapbars could lock in any position - even wide open - so that the train could easily be dispatched with riders being improperly secured. Obviously, the most recent Darien Lake ejection is the glaring exception to the above.

-Nate

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 2:09 PM

Travis, that last part is a matter of opinion, though. I thought SkyRush was mind-blowing in its excellence, and the same goes for other extreme rides that they've built.

Intamin consistently pushes the envelope of design and builds rides that blow the doors off of the competition. I rarely get off an Intamin and wonder how it could have been better. Almost every B&M I ride had substantial room for improvement. I love their rides, don't get me wrong, but except for a handful of B&Ms (B-TR, Afterburn, and several others), their rides strike me as generic.

Last edited by sirloindude, Thursday, October 18, 2012 2:10 PM
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Thursday, October 18, 2012 5:57 PM

I know it's bound to be the case, still it never ceases to amaze me how different opinions can be amongst us enthusiasts.
When I got off of Skyrush I immediately called everyone I know to report that I had just taken the best. ride. ever. I thought it was intense and thrilling beyond belief, particularly for a ride it's size- a real fooler. Kind of Millenium Force-ish and Maverick-y, too. And as for the restraint, I didn't mind it. When a friend asked me specifically about it I honestly couldn't imagine what the fuss was about. I could feel it, I guess, and after several re-rides I was a little sore, but it wasn't enough to make me cry. I also had a little brake run time, (though nothing like you, Travis), and still I wasn't begging to be cut free or anything.
I'm a medium to large guy and for me MF is dicey, and El Toro was fuggetabout it as far as restraints go. (which broke my heart, incidentally) At Hershey I was actually pleased to experience a new style of restraint that seemed thoughtful in regard to larger riders. For me, pressure on the legs is far more comfortable than two and a half minutes of can't breathe.
So there ya go.
As far as the "who's better" argument goes, i have a hard time holding one against the other. It's like apples and oranges- the fact that they both make huge coasters is where the comparison stops for me. I certainly don't think that B&M rides generally offer a decidedly more generic or less forceful ride, each company offers up its own particular style of awesomeness. I'll take Diamondback's high-hill airtime any day, and the only grey out I've ever experienced was on Nitro. Millenium Force will always be an all-time favorite for me, while I found I-305 to be kind of meh, especially compared to the likes of Skyrush.
And what I don't want to do is equate either company's design aesthetic (in terms of layout, profile and elements) with safety and comfort. Engineering, yes, overall ride design, no, if that makes any sense.
Frankly, I think each company could stand to learn a few things from the other.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:31 PM

RCMAC, I agree with you on the last part of your post for sure. I definitely think B&M could benefit from some of Intamin's aggressive approach to creativity and design innovation, whereas Intamin could definitely learn from B&M's restraint and ride reliability skills. If they got together and created a company together...well, that is just hot.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 1:02 AM

What exactly is it that Intamin has been innovative with? I'll give you hydraulic launches, but that's a horribly over-engineered and complex system to control. The LIM/LSM stuff is stuff Premier Rides did first. I don't think going taller is an innovation.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 7:43 AM

They're willing to try more innovative layouts, the ball coaster, they put a launch on anything, and have several different types of coasters, even predating B&M.

Intamin offers a much wider range of just coaster products.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 10:01 AM

The ball coaster looks far from fun to me... More like a fancy carny ride. They put a launch on everything, sure.... But how is that innovative? That is being repetitive just like B&M putting a lift on everything.

As far as coaster types...

I don't see the argument there. Intamin has what styles over B&M? None I can think of besides the 'ball' coaster and launched rides. B&M has the flyer, floorless and inverted coaster before Intamin. And made a much superior wing-rider design (note Intamin never sold more than one).

As far as layouts, I don't see them being more innovative either. B&M has plenty of stellar layouts. Sure they have some lackluster layouts, but Intamin has plenty of those too...

Intamin has a wider range of products, sure... But half of them don't work.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 10:06 AM

Intamin does sell other products like flat rides and towers, and that makes me wonder what a B&M flat ride would be like. Probably awesome!

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Friday, October 19, 2012 10:48 AM

I didn't ask about how wide the product line was, I asked how they were being innovative.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 12:19 PM

Intamin has been around way longer than B&M. Just because B&M has several of the same types NOW doesn't mean Intamin wasn't and isn't innovative.

And seriously, who has been innovative in the last 20 years? The last innovative coaster I can remember seeing was X. Mmmmaybe what Rocky Mountain is doing to wooden coasters, sure, I'll say that's innovative. Otherwise, who is being innovative?

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Friday, October 19, 2012 1:05 PM

You're still arguing different points. bunky666 said Intamin is innovative, and I asked how. I didn't ask if B&M was, or anyone else.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 2:16 PM

Just so we're clear, we say a firm is being innovative when it introduces new ideas that are original or creative in thinking. The following examples satisfy this definition:

  • Stengel Dive (e.g., Goliath, Walibi World)
  • Giant Overbanks (e.g., Millenium Force)
  • Cable Lift
  • "Flying Snake Dive" of Storm Runner (it seems unusual that we don't see more inversions where "inertia" from spins don't continue into further elements)
  • Prefab Wood Twisters
  • Mega Lites

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