Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2004 10:14 AM | Contributed by supermandl
Four children were hurt in an accident at Fun Plex amusement park Tuesday in Omaha, Nebraska. Around 11:30 a.m., police officers were called because a ride called the Spider (Monster) had tipped and four children were injured.
Read more and see video from KETV/Omaha.
I never liked the way Spider rides really had no lap bar besides sitting in the tub car. It seems easy for a smaller person to fall out. Even though thats not related to the accident, I still never liked the restraint system.
From looking at Waldameer's Spider (the same design as Fun Plex) it always seemed to be a less popular ride. I was there on the park's busiest day in 2003 and the ride still had no one in line. I think Waldameer should get rid of the ride in favor of a Top Spin. LOL!! Spiders are just not as trilling these days.
The biggest problem with these rides is that they must be balanced at all times (Any ride operator will known what this means). Essentially, an even amount of weight must be distributed on both halves of the ride (Or if you get real good at seating, each third, or fourth of the ride!). Specific rider placement prevents the ride from working too hard to rotate, flip, gyrate, etc.
With that said, the Spider by Everly Aircraft is one of the most difficult rides to operate. The reason being is that the ride loads just like a ferris wheel. You fill up one arm (Up to 4 passangers), release the clutch and bring down the exact opposite arm to load it up. At this point, you load up the adjacent arm (providing you parked it correctly), because the ride can be out of balance by 1 arm. Now you have up two arms filled on one side, and 1 arm on the other. You continue this way until it is properly balanced.
I doubt the ride crashed because of operator error, but apparently there has been a known problem with the pivot point on those arms. Good maintenance people will know what to look for. Less experienced parks and carnival operators, well, may not.
*** This post was edited by Zero-G 8/25/2004 1:28:39 PM ***
The Spider has six curved arms and two tubs at the end of each sweep. There are two versions of the Spider sweep, identifiable by the size of the base of the sweep where it attaches at the pivot point. There are narrow ones and there are wide ones. None of the wide ones have cracked, so far as I know. The narrow ones have a teardrop-shaped reinforcement gusset on each side of the sweep, and the crack that Dutchman is talking about develops at the pointed end of the gusset which is about 10" out from the pivot point. It's a known problem with the Spider, as a matter of fact, the bulletin about that crack was released thirty years ago. My understanding is that the crack develops from the inside of the sweep, but it usually develops in such a way that there is lots of warning before it gets bad enough for the sweep to fail...most of the time these get caught and fixed long before there is a problem.
For completeness, the Octopus has eight straight sweeps, and either one or two tubs on the end of each sweep. There is also a Spid-O-Pus out there, at Enchanted Village: it has six straight sweeps, so it looks like a deformed Octopus.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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