Millennium Force Seatbelts

Thursday, June 3, 2010 4:18 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Exactly Gonch. By the way, I almost didn't recognise you in your new photo. I got so used to the other one.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
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Thursday, June 3, 2010 5:19 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

I agree Gonch, the problem is if you fit in the test seat, wait an hour in line only to find out that the belts on the ride are shorter. Then I have a problem with that.

I have fit every time with little issue. So I tend to think this was just an opening day mishap as others have stated.


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010 8:20 PM

coasterdude318 said:
I haven't ridden Hydro or PP, so I can't comment on how that may or may not differ from what's on MF and the S:ROS coasters. I have ridden both S:ROS coasters and MF, though not back to back. I don't specifically remember any major differences, but if you say they're there, I trust that's true. I would question whether those differences are really significant enough in this case.

I haven't ridden Hydro or Plunge either. It is, admittedly, a bit of an assumption on my part that the configuration differs in any significant way from the Supermen, but it seems reasonable to me that it would, particularly given the different seating arrangement and the probable lack of hardware on the boat floor.

Obviously floor configuration matters (after all, it's why SFNE put those "shin guards" on S:ROS after the incident). However, the fact that all of those rides still managed to eject someone - three of the four times in a strikingly similar situation - suggests to me that the differences in the trains/boats doesn't matter all that much. The flaws were with the lapbar/seat combination and the lack of a go/no go system.

The floor configuration is the way in which Millennium Force is very different from Superman. Superman has (had?) a flat floor with tiered seats, and the seat "bench" was very shallow. On my second ride on the Darien Lake ride I realized that the seat was so shallow and the floor was so low under the back seat of the car that my thighs were actually angled downward from my hip to my knee. The practical upshot of this is that if I really wanted out from under that lap bar, all I needed to do was unfasten my seat belt and stand up. I couldn't do that in the front seat, and I can't do that in any seat on Millennium Force.

The lapbar and "flat seat" is poorly designed to be sure. That's why it was corrected by the time TTD was built. I still think the major problem with at least three of the four rides was that Intamin set limits on the size/weight of passengers, but offered no feasable way to measure that. That's a huge design oversight, and in this case cost a few people their lives.

Actually, I think the real answer is that Intamin did inadequate analysis and testing on their design. Then instead of fixing a bad design, they tried to kludge it by setting size limits. Except that the size limits really don't work unless you restrict your limits to a very small subset of the riding population. Even worse, a little bit of analysis and some minor changes would have solved the problem without requiring the size restrictions. On Millennium Force or Dragster, for instance, if the lap bar is anywhere past my knees, I can't go anywhere. And that's certainly what Intamin had in mind for Superman, but they didn't analyze it adequately, and they lost some riders. Instead of adding ridiculously short seat belts they could have also solved the problem by raising the floor under even-numbered seats and adding a toe bar (as on Millennium Force) or even better by extending the seat forward a bit. But it's easier to just blame the victim for being fat. Until you fling an undersized 15-year-old girl, then how do you explain it?

Either way you look at it, I think it's quite apparent that those restraints do *not* work in their original configuration.

-Nate

I believe the phrase that CalDOSH used was "clearly inadequate". Not that their analysis was that detailed either, so far as I can tell (maybe it was but it never got reported...).

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Thursday, June 3, 2010 8:36 PM
LostKause's avatar

I'm not ignorant of what the word ignorant means. I have a pretty large vocabulary.

And you are right about me being ignorant about when the seat belts were installed. I do remember hearing that SF staff didn't push down his lap bar though, and that he was weak enough that he may have not been able to hold on. That could have fallen under the category of rumor though, because now that you guys have made me second-guess myself, I can't remember if it was in the official report of was just something some internet poster claimed to see.

So, are the seat belts there only to keep people of a certain waist size from riding, because those body sizes are more prone to "flubbering" out of the lap bar? EDIT - Never mind that question. You just answered it above. Thanks. :)

Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, June 3, 2010 8:37 PM
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Friday, June 4, 2010 8:44 AM

From what I remember of Hydro (rode it a LONG time ago, never bothered with PP), one of the issues was that while it used a similar T-bar as the coasters, there was nothing on the SIDES of the inside riders to prevent them from slipping side-to-side if someone wasn't sitting next to them.

Which is a VERY deficient design IMHO.


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Friday, June 4, 2010 12:06 PM

Travis--
I actually had confidence in *your* vocabulary, but because this is an open forum, I figured I'd better throw that disclaimer in there so that *everyone* could understand that I wasn't actually being deliberately discourteous. :) In fact, the word I'd have expected you to use is "extensive". Never use a diminutive word when an ostentatious one is demanded. :)

Greg--
The boats didn't have rails between the seats? How did they ever expect to hold a rider under an individual restraint without using an individual seat? Of course, Hydro and Plunge have other issues. When the rollover is so sudden that the *water* can't stay in the flume, and with a boat attached to rails, how do they ever expect the riders to stay in the boat?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
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Friday, June 4, 2010 4:47 PM
Jeff's avatar

Greg's description of those water seats are kind of a well known defect in that design, and I suspect is the reason that Haley Williams came out of Hydro (the PP thing was more about being too big for the restraint). The early iteration coaster seats don't have that problem, but instead have the issue of leg position not forcing you to stay under the lap bar.


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

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Friday, June 4, 2010 8:41 PM

Yeah, I'd have to go through my photos from the trip to see if I have a relevant shot, but I'm almost positive there were no side rails at all for the inside seats, and like Jeff said that directly contributed to the incident on Hydro.


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Monday, June 7, 2010 10:37 AM

Dragster currently has the belt routed OVER the side bar making the belt length near the same as MF, when it usually was longer (that I noticed).

This was as of Sunday 6/6.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010 12:51 PM

After skimming the pages here no one has commented that the belts have been adjusted at Kings Dominion as well. Both Volcano and FoF have had their belts shortened as well thanks to CF.

I understand liabilities and safety precautions but Cedar Fair are forcing more and more people out of their parks than in. Americans are not all 5'4 and 125lbs. Its more like 6' and 225lbs. It appears that the Orlando parks are the only ones that are working to accommodate larger guests. My partner who tops in above 350lbs (keep your snide comments to yourself) rode Tower of Terror, Rock n Roll roller coaster and Expedition Everest without any problems whatsoever.

People come in all shapes and sizes. Until parks realize that and work towards a safety system that works for everyone (within reason) those that don't fit should speak with their wallets and with a cordial letter stating why they are doing so.


What was I supposed to put here again?!?!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:09 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

CoasterBearVa said:
Both Volcano and FoF have had their belts shortened as well thanks to CF.

As well? I though after all these pages of discussion, that we have determined that there was little if any changes to the belt son MF this year. If anything they may have been routed differently in the first week or 2 of operation.

In addition, any changes deemed necessary by the manufacture have to be adhered to by state law. If Intamin says they have to do it, they have no choice.

Last edited by Jason Hammond, Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:11 PM

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:34 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

CoasterBearVa said: It appears that the Orlando parks are the only ones that are working to accommodate larger guests. My partner who tops in above 350lbs (keep your snide comments to yourself) rode Tower of Terror, Rock n Roll roller coaster and Expedition Everest without any problems whatsoever.

Those rides are also much more tame than any of the cedar fair coasters we are talking about and one of them has over the shoulder restraints.


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Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:52 PM
matt.'s avatar

I'm not sure "tame" has much to do with it. I mean, the restraint systems are either adequate or not.

Even still, "tame" is a pretty subjective term. I think a lot of people would use that very word to describe MF. However I think CoasterBear's comment is just more indicative that Orlando just isn't an Intamin heavy place. That could be for any number of reasons.

Last edited by matt., Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:53 PM
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:53 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

The PP restrains, from what I recall, didn't have anything on the side. I had to wait for people to ride and for the whole row to be filled at nite before they would run the ride.

As for making rides that 'fit everyone', I thought this quote was quite telling:

Americans are not all 5'4 and 125lbs.

No, they're not, but worldwide coaster mfgrs. aren't only making coasters for Americans and it's pretty selfish to think they should make a worldwide standard, and an American standard, esp. when the majority of people who are going to ride are going to fit (How many teens and children fit? I'd venture a guess and say most).

Intamin's restraint issues aside, Intamin, B&M, Premier, Gravity Group, GCI, or whoever designs the trains for their coasters are designing rides that fit to an average person, not average American person. Look at other places where loads of coasters get built: Europe & Asia. Do you really think they're going to spend money to rejigger their restrains when one section of the world (who isn't even purchasing a buttload of coasters right now) has bigger riders, when they can still sell coasters to the US parks AND overseas markets?

I know it isn't easy to lose weight, and I'm no skinny minny myself, but the first time I had to take the walk of shame, on a carnival ride at a state fair by the way, I realized it was time to lose some weight or not complain.

I have various friends that have issues fitting in various rides, but most of them that have issues that they can change are working to change the issues to be healthier and to be able to enjoy their hobby. To get mad and expect a company to design around the minority and not the majority worldwide is wasted time, IMO.

Edit: matt. slipped this in:

I mean, the restraint systems are either adequate or not.

Again, aside from the fact that Intamin has had issues with ejecting overweight and smaller people aside, Millie's restraints have proven to be adequate for most people. Just like the rides at Disney parks are adequate for most people.

Why is no one complaining that Intimidator at Carowinds isn't as accomodating to larger people? Quite a few have been turned away from it, and it's a B&M shell restraint design.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Tuesday, June 8, 2010 1:57 PM

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010 4:35 PM

Every major amusement ride is custom built.

Any manufacturer who cannot or will not build the ride to accommodate the expected ridership based on the install location does not deserve a contract to build the ride. It's no different than B&M modifying their restraint system for coasters in Dubai to accommodate riders wearing long robes. You build the ride for your expected audience.

What is more frightening is that Intamin appears to be using draconian height and weight restrictions to cover for design flaws in their restraint design. After all, if the real reason that a 40-year-old overweight woman was ejected from Perilous Plunge was that she was overweight, then why was a slight 15-year-old girl also ejected from Hydro? I'm inclined to think that perhaps there was something wrong with the design and analysis, and Intamin's refusal to admit that resulted in another fatal incident.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010 11:42 PM

Tekwardo said:
As for making rides that 'fit everyone', I thought this quote was quite telling:

Americans are not all 5'4 and 125lbs.

No, they're not, but worldwide coaster mfgrs. aren't only making coasters for Americans and it's pretty selfish to think they should make a worldwide standard, and an American standard, esp. when the majority of people who are going to ride are going to fit (How many teens and children fit? I'd venture a guess and say most).

Well, I'm not 5'4", 125 lbs, either. I weight 130 lbs, thankyouverymuch.


I've said it before, but when I was in Japan, I fit perfectly in all the rides -- it was as if they were custom-fitted to me. (Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit, but not by much).

But "fit to market" (or lack thereof) is still no excuse for the apparent design failures seen in Intamin's rides.

Last edited by GregLeg, Tuesday, June 8, 2010 11:43 PM

--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010 3:12 PM
rollergator's avatar

matt. said:
However I think CoasterBear's comment is just more indicative that Orlando just isn't an Intamin heavy place. That could be for any number of reasons.

First, price really isn't an issue for Disney or Universal. Second, capacity *is*. Third, reliability is. Hence, Vekoma and B&M dominate...


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Thursday, June 10, 2010 4:30 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Vekoma and reliability? Not outside of Orlando.


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."

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Thursday, June 10, 2010 4:43 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

Well, I'm a little guy, so I wouldn't have this problem, but I would certainly feel bad for someone who waits in line all day to ride a coaster, and not be able to ride. If this is the case, there should be plenty of warning before you ride the rides to see if you are able to ride at all.

I have seen people at Michigan's Adventure have to exit the coasters like ST and the Wildcat because they are too big to ride. My friend's Paul and Dan had a heck of a time with Shivering Timers, because they are both over 6'2" and came back with bruised knees after riding. And, Paul had trouble with the belt too.

One of the things I worried about when I was younger was wether or not I would be tall enough to ride. We went to Great America when I was 12, and I was just tall enough to ride everthing, but barely.

I can also relate to this with carnivals. There are a lot of rides that I rode for years at most carnivals, that I can no longer ride, because of the "No single rider" rule. My problem is, I love the rides, but, the people I normally go with don't like them. Either because they are too intense looking, or they suffer from motion sickness.

If they ever developed a no single rider law at the parks, I would be screwed. Well, actually, I can't ride most family water park park rides, like the "Funnel of fear." at Michigan's Adventure, or the other raft rides, because I am either at the park by myself, or the people I am with don't want to wait in line. (Usually over an hour)

It's not a good thing either way, and makes for a very disapointing day at the park. One reason why I stopped going to carnivals and fairs...just not worth it.

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Friday, June 11, 2010 10:57 AM

Cedar Point's website is actually fairly accurate. I have yet to read or see anyone that is under 40" at the waist (measured, not pant size) not fit. If there is someone that measures 38" and doesn't fit, it would be the first instance I am aware of.


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