Heads up: SkyRush down for 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012 2:22 PM

In this day in age, I don't consider any track layout to be innovative. Forty years ago a loop might have been unique but, parks are certainly not lining up to be the next coaster with a "snake dive". That's not really a marketable selling point. But the cable lift and prefabricated wood track sections do seem to fit the bill as innovative.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 3:02 PM

So does B&M's vertical drop (the first one) count as innovative? Or the keyhole elements/themeing on the new wing coasters? Or duelling dragons as a whole (when the duelled)?

I think what people call "innovative" in this conversation is purely subjective. Every coaster is just a combination of G's and speed if you break it down

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Friday, October 19, 2012 5:24 PM

eightdotthree said:

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

I haven't supervised ride operators enough to answer that... but, the B&M rides have built in sensors - so if the lap bar is not down far enough, the ride operator is notified on their panel to which row has a lap bar too high. The red line is just a visual back up.

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Friday, October 19, 2012 5:48 PM

Jeff, I'm not arguing different points. Your opinion is that they're not innovative. My opinion is that they are. It's okay to have a difference of opinion. Like was said, innovation is subjective.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Friday, October 19, 2012 5:49 PM
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Saturday, October 20, 2012 5:22 AM

Intamin's drop track section on Thirteen...innovative?

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Saturday, October 20, 2012 9:31 AM

Instead of being innovative, or whatever, maybe Intamin should put their resources into figuring out how to not maim and kill innocent amusement park patrons on a regular basis.

Is B&M more innovative when it comes to reliability and safety, the things that really matter? You bet.

The only subjectively innovative thing about Skyrush, for example, is the elevator lift and mag breaks, something Millennium Force was built with over a decade ago. Now that Skyrush has to be closed for whatever reason, those "innovations" do not even matter right now.

Has anyone heard about any significant downtime on Wild Eagle or any of the other Wing Rider coasters from B&M? What about from any of their other unusual coaster types, like inverted coasters? Innovation is more that what Intamin is doing. Innovation is making sure the rides are safe and that they work right, before selling them to amusement parks and allowing people to ride them.

Since I don't know what the current problem is with Skyrush, I now feel very concerned, because I was on that thing. Was Intamin putting my life and my friends life in danger when we rode it?

Last edited by LostKause, Saturday, October 20, 2012 9:32 AM
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Saturday, October 20, 2012 11:20 AM

Kill and maim people on a regular basis? Seriously? You make it sound as if it's an epidemic. I know that statistically, yes, Intamin has probably had more deaths and injuries over the years than other companies, but we're still talking about only a handful over years of successful operation (let's not forget that B&M came from Intamin, and Intamin has been going at it for decades with a number of successful rides), and the only high-profile injury/death incidents in the past couple of years (KK's Hellevator and DL's Ride of Steel) weren't really Intamin's fault in the first place (I'm assuming that my recollection of the Kentucky incident being a park maintenance problem is correct).

For the 100th time, I know that Intamin has had some pretty spectacular goof-ups, like re-designing already-built rides or adding supports, but I caution us to stop looking at one failure and making it sound like 80. Going off of coasters alone, they've built 4 this year and only 1 had an issue. They built 3 in 2011, none of which had problems. 4 in 2010, with Intimidator 305 being the only one with issues. Of the 7 in 2009 and the 7 in 2008 (I exclude Possessed from the 2008 count because it was a relocation of an existing ride and its issue was at its former home), none had problems. 25 rides and only 2 had issues, neither of which resulted in any injuries (depending on how you classify SkyRush's discomfort, of course). In the process, they built a number of rides that have really pushed the envelope in terms of new maneuvers, elements, etc., while B&M has continued with the same exact maneuvers over and over with slightly different sequences. Is it successful? Yes. Has it deprived us of rides that could have been complete stand-outs? Absolutely.

Again, I don't say that to hate on B&M because they and Intamin often duke it out for who makes the better rides, and my top-ranked rides are almost exclusively B&M or Intamin. I just think that making Intamin out to be this terrible company that endangers people's lives on a regular basis is complete sensationalism. If advancing coaster technology and design required a few re-profiled turns or tweaked launch systems over the years, I can live with that. I am indeed sorry for the deaths and injuries that could be attributed to engineering flaws, but I do think we can all agree that they've been pretty few and far between when you really sit down and think about it.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012 12:47 PM

sirloindude said:

4 in 2010, with Intimidator 305 being the only one with issues.

You seriously think it's "okay" that I-305 had to have its trains and layout redesigned multiple times? Aside from a handful of enthusiasts, none of the paying customers care about difference between an Intamin and a B&M in terms of innovation or intensity. They care about whether the giga/strata coaster is working and doesn't hurt you.

You make it sound as if having a 10% rate of broken or painful rides is acceptable.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Saturday, October 20, 2012 12:47 PM
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Saturday, October 20, 2012 1:43 PM

I would like to know how much some of these changes cost for Intamin. You can't tell me major train axle issues, last minute inversion removals, and reprofiling turns all in the course of one season for these coasters came out of the parks' pockets.

Last edited by AJFelice, Saturday, October 20, 2012 1:44 PM
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Saturday, October 20, 2012 2:07 PM

What of the Gravity Group, then? 2 rides of theirs, including the not-open-yet coaster in China, have had major work done. The Voyage has had some of its maneuvers re-profiled and one of their Chinese coasters, the Wooden Coaster - Fireball, is closed this year for a several-month trackwork project. Now, discounting the latter as standard trackwork that any wooden coaster requires (although I'm not sure if that includes the Intamin plug-'n'-play wooden coasters), that's a 10% problem record with the Gravity Group. Are we to infer that they're unsafe? That's 10% through their entire existence. For reference, I went back through the 2005 installations for Intamin, and discounting their 2013 installations and including Possessed, 5 had noteworthy modifications or incidents (the 2 I mentioned, Maverick's roll removal, KK's aborted launch that trashed the test run, and Possessed's launch deal). They shot a 9.8% problem percentage. Of course, if I use those same conditions (i.e. excluding their 2013 installation), Gravity Group shot an 11.1% problem percentage. By this logic, if any of their next 10 roller coasters has a problem or needs re-profiling, can I throw a fuss that they screwed things up again? Certainly not! In fact, The Voyage almost proves my point, but I don't see anybody ragging on the Gravity Group for its re-profiling.

I know that most people only care that the rides don't hurt them, and it's only us enthusiasts that really even care about whether the layout is super-intense or generic (shoot, we're likely the only ones who notice). However, Intamin has done more technologically for the amusement park industry with its massive catalog of rides of all sorts, coasters or otherwise, than B&M will probably ever do, and if they had some challenges along the way advancing technology, I understand. I'm not saying I'm super-ecstatic that they had problems that they did in the process (I always hope for the got-it-right-the-first-time result), but I am saying that I'm not overly shocked that not everything worked out the way it was supposed to right off the bat.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012 10:04 PM

Here is an accident that I have always found very interesting.

Notice that the seat was dislodged from the train, which could have been a fatal problem if it was any worse. As far as I know, the cable snapped into the font of the train and lashed into the boy's leg, causing him to have to be hospitalized. See those shards of broken metal quickly spray into their faces? Terrible.

"I rode Xcelerator and all I got was this nasty permanent disfigurement and some Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome."

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Saturday, October 20, 2012 10:45 PM

Percentages aren't the be all and end all, though. Especially when GG's sample space is so small and Intamin's is so large. But most importantly, I've never heard of a GG coaster ejecting anyone, lacerating anyone, dismembering anyone, or catastrophically failing in some other way (train losing theming, trains crashing into LIM's, brakes, cable breaking, etc. etc.) Sure, *maybe* you can write off structural issues and say some other companies have had similar structural issues at similar percentages (with much smaller sample size) but I don't know of any other company that's had the same number of repeated dangerous or potentially dangerous situations.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012 11:19 PM

I agree that statistics aren't the be-all, end-all determination of who is safe and who isn't, and that was the point I was trying to make. I don't think the Gravity Group is unsafe at all. I just wanted to point out the flaws of the statistics argument.

As I've said repeatedly before, Intamin has made blunders. I don't recall any other companies making mistakes that left me scratching my head the way Intamin has.

As I've said before, I'm partly playing devil's advocate, but my main point is that context is key. So much of this thread is silly sensationalism that makes it seem like Intamin is a bunch of buffoons who operate off of guesswork instead of proper engineering, and I don't believe that to be the case. I absolutely think they should be more thorough in their engineering, and I believe that they probably could have avoided a few of their more ridiculous mistakes that way.

I also think that the maintenance of the rides is being overlooked. I'm not trying to suggest that parks ignore their Intamin attractions, but I do think that rides of the extreme nature of the rides Intamin has built necessitates a level of care that perhaps parks aren't grasping. Is it Intamin's fault that a cable snapped? You're yanking a multi-ton train to one hundred and twenty miles per hour every minute for hours and hours on end. Those cables need checked. Intamin needs to ensure they deliver the best cable system they can, but if parks aren't checking those cables, there isn't a thing in the world Intamin can do to prevent one from snapping. Now, if Intamin didn't set up a proper maintenance program, that's on them.

For what I hope is the final time, I don't condone some of the mistakes Intamin has made. I just find the level of exaggeration to be a bit amusing. I don't go to a park, get on an Intamin coaster, and wonder if it's going to kill me. I doubt most of you have that thought process either.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012 11:24 PM

As a rider, I don't give it a serious second thought. As a park, though, I would go B&M all day, every day, and twice on Sunday. I'm not taking the chance of extended closure or worse on my multimillion dollar investment.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:02 AM

Sandor is NOT your friend.

Last edited by kpjb, Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:02 AM
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Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:22 AM

Oh, I'd be sure to put enough penalties in my contract for an Intamin ride that they'd have to buy me 3 B&Ms to replace it if it had any issues, but I think that rides like Millennium Force, El Toro, and so on and so forth that haven't had issues have gone to levels that B&M won't generally go anywhere near. Until Leviathan, B&M never went up to the size of Millennium Force, and until they stop slapping trim brake after trim brake on their airtime hills, Intamin will wipe the floor with them.

Last edited by sirloindude, Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:28 AM
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Sunday, October 21, 2012 1:02 AM

No one is saying that Intamin isn't innovative, though I'd argue that companies like Premier and Rocky Mountain are doing some pretty cool things as well. The issue is that the company has had significant failures in fairly basic areas of design and engineering. For example, look at Pilgrims Plunge and Shoot the Rapids: both of these rides have had significant issues with water flow and boat design. Arrow solved those problems more than 50 years ago with their first log flumes.

Things like restraint design are also indicative of Intamin's shortcomings. B&M got the clamshell restraint right the first time, and to my knowledge it hasn't changed substantially since it was introduced on Apollo's chariot more than a decade ago. Meanwhile, Intamin has gone through many iterations of lapbar designs, and it's obvious that they still can't get it right. After ejecting rider after rider, they simply gave up and started slapping over-the-shoulder restraints on everything they built, even rides like Rita that have no inversions or significant airtime. Compare this to Premier and Maurer Sohne, both of which have been building inverting rides with lapbars for years now.

In short, the intensity/innovation of Intamin's rides doesn't really apply to this debate, because the failures often involve design and engineering considerations that all ride manufacturers deal with, regardless of how "innovative" their rides are.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012 8:11 AM

I'm not going to keep debating the whole Intamin-screws-up-on-the-basics notion with you anymore because I agreed with that repeatedly. I'm not defending them on that. My argument is about the fact that they aren't some terribly unsafe company who couldn't build a reliable ride if they tried.

What I will contest is the restraint issue. How is it obvious that they still can't get it right? The last of their coasters to have their lap bars modified were built in the year 2000. The design has changed from time to time over the years, but only the SROS coasters actually endured alterations to their lap bars. Expedition GeForce is still running strong with the same lap bars that it has had for more than 10 years. El Toro, perhaps the king of violent airtime, has run without incident using just a lap bar to hold riders in their seats. The only reason SkyRush has the funky ones it does is because of the way the seating is set up. There isn't really anywhere to put the mechanism for an El Toro/Bizarro-style lap bar. I'd think that save for the padding issue on SkyRush, they've got it down pat.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012 10:32 AM

sirloindude said:

Oh, I'd be sure to put enough penalties in my contract for an Intamin ride that they'd have to buy me 3 B&Ms to replace it if it had any issues.

Which pretty much means you'd go with B&M in the first place, because there's no way in heaven that Intamin would let you write that into their contract (or more specifically, if they did, KBFx2, SFA, DL, SFNE, Hershey, every park with an impulse, SFKK, KD, GAdv., CP etc. would all have 3 new B&M's).

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Sunday, October 21, 2012 10:33 AM
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Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:09 PM

Not that most of us think about it very often considering the location, but the Vekoma Tilt coaster was quite innovative, IMO.

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