Posted Friday, April 14, 2017 2:22 PM | Contributed by Jeff
For the second time in recent years, a roller coaster at Six Flags America had to be shut down for a safety inspection after passengers got stuck on the ride for about five hours. Two dozen people were stranded nearly 100 feet in the air Thursday evening when the Joker’s Jinx ride came to a halt.
Read more from WTOP/Washington.
The word "rescued" seems misleading. That is all.
When the Flight of Fear rides were built, Paramount Parks identified three places on the ride where a train could stall out, and installed evacuation platforms at all three locations, with OSHA compliant stairways and handrails. So far as I know, in 20 years none of the platforms has been used for its intended purpose on either ride.
Right about yesterday, I'm guessing Six Flags is wishing they had taken the same precaution. "Rescue" is totally the right word, as riders had to be evacuated from an inaccessible location on the ride.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Any word what caused it? Loose article? Wind? A weak launch?
Those are the top 3 guesses that I have....and not necessarily in that order.
I remember yeeeears ago there was an ACE event at KD when FoF was brand new. As a stunt they invited anyone who wanted to get married or renew their vows to do it on the coaster. Several couples took them up on it and got all dressed up early one morning. Sure enough there was a misfire and those folks spent a good part of the morning stranded on the ride until they could be brought down. They missed precious ERT time and everything. And on account of it the rest of us missed it too.
We happened to be walking by when the happy/not so happy couples were finally exiting the building hours later. I'll never forget the look on one gal's face as she tromped across the pavement in her high heels, a pretty (but sweaty) dress, and what was left of her veil. Being that they were already married I'm sure she thought, in hindsight, that the whole thing was a bad idea.
Maybe that's when the idea of escape catwalks was considered....
As much as I'm not a fan of either FoF rides, this Jokers Jinx turned out to be one of my favorite rides at SFA. It was fast, smooth, comfortable, and had no mid-course brake. I hit it early in the day and rode several times while there was no line. It was also cool to be able to actually watch the ride zoom around that knot of track.
I haven't been to Fiesta since theirs was built to know what it's like, but I hear it's the same.
This is the second time now. I'd imagine there's a substantial chance we'll see this ride leave the park. The general public is going to start abandoning it and maybe this park if six flags doesn't get their act together.
When you talk to people from that area, a lot of them would rather make a long drive to go to KD or BG than just drive across town to SFA.
I was talking to coworkers(general population,) about it, and the perception is that the park employees are part of the gang that the same visitors are part of.
We went opening weekend and had a good time. I won't ever visit in the Summer or step foot in the water park. It's pretty bad.
The park says a bad wheel was to blame:
That seems like a sign of a really lousy inspection or rebuild process.
The most common failure is when the polyurethane breaks and cracks after so many cycles. It happens most frequently when it is hot outside. It is possible to shred apart and get stuck in an assembly, but you really have to be trying hard to not notice a wheel problem. I can think of three scenarios in which this type of failure is most often noticed:
But what is craziest is that this happened in the spring- only a week or so after the park opened on April 1st. The logical conclusion here is that the wheel made it through the off-season rebuild and even then, wasn't noticed by anyone.Last edited by Fun, Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:09 PM
That would merely be the most common problem. The wheel could have had a bad bearing as well which would cause drag and have been more easily missed. There are lots of mechanical problems that wheels could develop. We don't know (to my knowledge) the specific design of the wheel assembly so it's hard to make a conclusion.
It's most likely an aluminum wheel with a polyurethane tire. The wheel carrier has, IIRC, six wheels and is mounted on the end of a tubular axle which passes through a spherical bearing at the center of the car. Each car has two axles, all axles are identical, except the front axle of each car has a pair of "doughnuts" right behind the wheel carrier that the car body rests on, thus inhibiting the axle from any "roll" motion.
Remember that the Demon incident, in which an Arrow looping train lost its last axle due to a missing cotter key was described by the park as the loss of "a wheel" so keep in mind that we're probably getting a watered down description of the actual problem.
Bear in mind as well that just because a wheel is new or freshly refurbished doesn't mean it won't cause trouble. When Goliath opened at SFGAm, there were reports on its press day of a wheel shredding its tire. It is not at all out of the question for a perfectly inspected, installed and maintained wheel to have problems this early in the season.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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