I was just wondering if those were infact, magnetic braking units on Perilous Plunge, at Knott's Berry Farm. I was curious as to why Intamin has them on their splash down rides, when other boat rides such as Snake River Falls do not use them. Is it true that they can be turned on and off, as to create bigger or smaller splashes? If so, by what means do they activate or disengage? *** Edited 12/11/2004 1:03:24 AM UTC by Fun***
The reason is that Perilous Plunge is taller and was created by a different company. The Plunge has to decelerate in a splashdown trough that is roughly the same length as on Snake River, yet is going 13mph faster; hence the need for magnetic brakes on one but not the other.
As for turning them on and off, I distinctly remember press releases describing the ability to adjust the brakes in order to control the size of the splash.
If I remember correctly how magnetic brakes work, then yes in fact you can control the force they apply to the ride. This is done by moving the magnets farther from the fins. The farther away the magnets are from the fins, then the less force they apply. Its similar to holding two magnets. Hold them close together, then the force is strong pulling the together. Hold them far away then you can't really feel the force at all. I also know that this is the way they control the magnetic trims on the Beast.
I would guess that the big I-beam in the middle of the track is 1/2 of the magnetic system... the other half being on the underside of the boat. If so, the height of that beam (how close it is to the boat) could very well determine the amount of braking applied. Just because it's not in the S.O.P. doesn't mean maintenance can't flick a switch somewhere else.
Its amazing what one finds with a simple internet search:
With an eye toward year-round guest satisfaction, Knott's designers have equipped the new attraction with a state-of-the-art magnetic braking system enabling officials to control not only the speed of the cascading boats but the size of the splash and the extent which riders get wet on colder days. At their top speed of 50 mph (13 feet per second), Perilous Plunge's descending boats generate an amazing 45-foot, 180-degree splash - the biggest in the theme park industry.
From what I understand, the size of the splash, and thus the amount of magnetic braking, is determined by the water level of the splash down pool. Lower the water level, and the size of the splash is smaller. The boat speed is higher and the magnetic brakes apply increased speed reduction. Raise the water level, and the boat hits the water harder, and the magnetic brakes will apply less force. This explains why the ride-ops are not trained about the braking system--maintenance would set the water level.
That sounds rather dangerous though, as other splash boat rides have experienced serious accidents as a result of rapid fluctuations in the water level. Hersheypark's Storm Force has hydroplaned several times as a result of what I think were small changes (waves, perhaps?) in the splash pool. It would seem safer just to have maintenance adjust the position of the magnetic fins/strips on the boats, though I could be wrong about that.
Well, yeah... the posts were in response to SteelGuy's suggestion that the water level controlled the splash and deceleration. We've established that the magnetic brakes can be adjusted since the first post in the thread.
I was the one who said that, ;-). I've worked a flume ride before, so I know your pain (or boredom, from waiting for the pumps to raise the water level). I guess we just have conflicting reports on what the real story is behind that magnetic rail.
I can personally vouch that the amount of splash can be adjusted. When it was new Belmont BAbe and I were part of group of ACE volunteers for a Discovery Channel shoot. I believe it was in March, the temps in the mid to low 60's. We spent the morning getting drenched for the camera. Before the lunch break the director asked the PR person (who is no longer there)if it were possible to get more splash. A call on the radio to maintenance was made. We had our box lunch of Mrs.Knotts chicken and proceeded back to continue filming. The first run after lunch the wall of water that enveloped us was three times what we had experiened in the morning. A number of us threw in the towel (and asked for one) after that.