I was on a road trip last weekend, and one of my friends claimed she rode Riddlers Revenge at SFMM the week before, and her restraint failed to lock, so she was sent on the course with an open restraint. She discovered only once they were on the lift, and the other people around her first wouldn't believe her - hers was the only restraint that didn't lock.
She said she went through the first loops with an open restraint, but it locked her finally, though in a painful way, after the second loop.
Now the way she told the story, I have to admit I didn't feel she was lying in any way, and she is also a coaster fan, so I didn't think it might have been a freak-out misperception, but it is a very grave and terrifying thing to happen, that I somehow can't really believe.
So here is my question, with all the buffs out there: Is it actually possible that a single restraint on a B&M coaster fails to lock? *** Edited 4/4/2007 2:08:26 PM UTC by superman***
I would be more inclined to believe it was just really loose, but I guess anything is possible. How an op would miss a completely unlocked restraint on that kind of coaster puzzles me, considering how complicated the locking and check procedure is with having to lock the height first then shoulder harness and the belt on top of all that.
I was under the impression that some B&M rides, especially, stand-ups, could unlock restraints by row, but not by individual seat. Furthermore, if it was truly unlocked, then I don't see how it could have locked down after the loop(s). So if her restraint was truly unlocked (different from being loose), then the restraints in the rest of the row, at least, must have been unlocked too. That is, unless there was a mechanical problem with her specific seat.
She might very well have had a loose restraint, but if the restraints were locked, then all one has to do is pull on it and it will click down further. Not to be rude, but I kinda doubt this story. One of my friends tried to tell me that the same thing happened to him on Flight of Fear at Kings Island, and I don't really believe him either. It's kind of amazing how many people you can talk to who swear they've had a restraint malfunction on ride 'X', yet having worked for several years at an amusement park (and gone to them for far longer), I can say that I've never actually seen a restraint malfunction occur like the ones described by your friend or mine.
HoosierTTD said: It's kind of amazing how many people you can talk to who swear they've had a restraint malfunction on ride 'X', yet having worked for several years at an amusement park (and gone to them for far longer), I can say that I've never actually seen a restraint malfunction occur like the ones described by your friend or mine.
I can tell you with 100% certainty that my sons (who had just hit the 48" height requirement) lap bar unlocked during a ride on Magnum, and remained unlocked for the duration of the ride. Luckily his seatbelt was fastened tightly, so there was no real danger.
In the RR case, however, I would strongly suspect the restraint was just loose and tightened during the ride. *** Edited 4/4/2007 2:51:26 PM UTC by Downhill Screamer***
Not saying it doesn't happen (though on a VERY rare basis), just that it tends to be over-reported or made over-dramatic. I've had my restraint pop a few clicks on a Boomerang before. To me, I know that's a issue those rides have. While it was more than a bit scary at the time, it wasn't a big deal in the long run. Even knowing what it was, I did report it to the staff, as should be done with ALL known or suspected restraint issues. I can easily see how someone could get freaked out by something like that. Then, as they tell the story to their friends, to use a famous quote "It grows in the telling."
Again, not implying that it happened in your case whatsoever, Screamer.
*** Edited 4/4/2007 3:06:14 PM UTC by HoosierTTD***
It's not your restraints unlock. It's the fact that they are locked, and then move a little bit, and lock again. They are still locked. So, people think they just become unlocked. On Batman the Ride, it's locked, and than it becomes tighter for me. It's locks to another pin, or whatever they have on those things. So, the restraint moves, but it will lock further down.
After loops like on Batman the Ride's first loop or Riddler's Revenge, it will lock further down. That's what I think happened.
^Not in my case I was on SFGAm's Viper a few years ago (pre Raging Bull) and on a curve my lap bar went back up to the full unlocked (and I was two clicks down so your theory doesnt work) thankfully I was able to slam it down again and it stayed there the rest of the ride. When I got back to the station and told the ride ops they got out those bungy cord do not ride signs and put it in my row.
In 1993 while riding SFGAm's Iron Wolf, My harness unlocked during the first loop. At the time, I wasn't sure if it had popped up one notch or completely unlocked because I had grabbed it once I noticed it moved and held it tight for the duration of the ride. Upon completing the final brake run, I let go and it popped up until only the belt was holding it down. I unhooked the belt and returned to the station with the harness fully up. Mine was the only seat on the entire train where this had happened. I had to fill out tons of paperwork for the park afterwards and got many phone calls to follow up to ensure I hadn't been injured or harmed during the ride. They ran that train empty 3 times before allowing riders on again and had closed that seat for the rest of the day. So I know personally that it can happen however, this was very early in the ride's lifetime and very early for B&M. Also I believe those trains are Intamin. They have gotten new harnesses since then and I haven't ever heard another claim of harness or lap bar failure since. I will say that I get very nervous on Raging Bull, Apollo's Chariot and any other B&M hyper because of the memory of that and the fact that the hypers have no belts. I know that they are pneumatic and fail-proof but, it's still unnerving and the only coasters you won't see my hands up on.
I rode Chang at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom on the last day of operations some years back and I experienced the sort of the same thing. As I was going up the lift, I realized I could move the seat up and down. My OTSR unlocked shortly after. My seat finally locked during the inclined loop in a very uncomfy position. There was no one else in my row, my friend would have been there but it was the third time in a row during cold rain, and none of the other seats were moving. It was very scary going through the first two inversions and feeling the seat begin to slide up. But as soon as I got off and thanked God I didn't die, I realized how much of a rush it was! :)
I think it is possible for one restraint on riddler's revenge to unlock. I was on it a year ago and the train stopped half way up the lift. The attendant came up and checked the restraint on only one seat to see if it was unlocked. I'm not sure if it was, but thats what it looked like.
I actually had the opposite problem happen at SFOG on the GASM-- our lap bar didn't open at the end of the ride. The ride ops didn't notice (even though we tried to yell and get their attention) and we ended up getting a second ride, scared the whole time that our lap bar would decide to pop open somewhere along the course. Finally at the end of the ride, our lap bar opened like it was supposed to, and we hopped out in a hurry!
Makes for a rather funny story now...
I *have* had restraints go down an extra click, which in some cases can be pretty uncomfortable/painful, like on the Looping Starship at SFOG. I've also had times where I WANTED to get the restraint down just one more click and couldn't. I guess it evens out!
I've some serious doubts concerning supposed restraint failures. I agree that lap bars of badly maintained rides, and especially some travelling carnival rides, are not always reliable but when it comes to modern over-the-shoulder restraints I tend to be very careful about failure reports. That a ratchet system can slightly release a restraint is possible if it didn't lock on the tooth but it will lock safely on the very next tooth so a patron may believe that a restraint did unlock simply because he or she can slightly move the restraint. Once a train has left the station there's usually no way to remotely monitor the restraint locking and after the launch or lift a train can't be stopped beside in the block brakes. A restraint failure would represent a major safety issue and should normally be very thoroughly investigated by removing the covers and, if required, performing a partial disassembly to inspect the locking mechanisms. I don't want to comment some Vekoma engineering oddities but I'd be very highly surprised if a B&M restraint locking mechanism would ever have totally failed.