Superman Failsafes

Thursday, April 5, 2001 8:11 AM
This is a question for Rideman or anybody else with a great deal of technical knowledge on rollercoasters. I called Magic Mountain on this, but nobody there could (or WOULD!) help.

What guarantees that if the power were to go out, or if something didn't work right, the vehicle would stop at the bottom of the hill? I need this information to convince my lovely wife to ride the thing. Please help!

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"If you can't keep up with the conversation, I suggest you stay out of it..." Hannibal Lecter
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 8:30 AM
Well, as far as non-technical reasons it would stop at the bottom...gravity...kinda hard for it to stay stopped on a spike (if you are referring to S:UE or V2)
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 8:36 AM

redman822 said:
"Well, as far as non-technical reasons it would stop at the bottom...gravity...kinda hard for it to stay stopped on a spike (if you are referring to S:UE or V2)"


Thanks, but I was referring to Superman: The Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Thanks for the input, though.
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 9:41 AM
I think that the default position for brakes is the "stop" (or locked, whatever) position. The brakes are held "open." So if the power went out, all of the brakes on the ride would lock. I'm pretty sure this is right, but I know close to nothing about roller coaster mechanics, so you should definitely get a second opinion (Dave?).
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 10:15 AM
That's kinda' what I thought, too, but I definitely need the master; help me, Rideman!
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 10:16 AM
1st off, the car launches down, so, on its return, the slight uphill climb will slow it down. If the power is to go out, the only thing that's left to stop the car is the break behind the station. Its a magnetic break and will slow the people down faster or slower, depending on the speed which they arrive. FYI, this sort of thing would happen all the time. I am not exactly sure what happened. But sometimes, when they would over shoot (the car launches at say 120), on its return, the magnets don't slow down the car for some reason. At the moment I cant think of exactly what the problem is. Can someone help me on this part? I will try and look through all my info I have on this ride and get back to you ASAP. :)
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 12:03 PM
They have a generator just in case.

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Six Flags Worlds of Adventures opens May 4, 2001 at 5:00 pm. SFWoA 115 years young in 2003.
"I dress myself" Ralph Wiggum
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 12:54 PM
First of all, there is always a backup generator that will automatically turn on right when the power goes out so that the rides won't get messed up if the power goes off. Second, Lothar is correct, whenever something goes wrong, such as the power shuts off the brakes automaticly are applied. There are spots in the track that automaticly apply the brakes such as if one of the trains does not go through the section of a track. The car behind it will stop and not be able to continue until the car ahead has cleared.


If anyone had to wait on a piece of track, such as at the top of the lift hill such as the second lift hill of the BEAST, and ur car was not moving, that meant that the car ahead had not completed its section of the track. So the brakes are applied. I'm wondering off topic alittle... sorry. Now, if the power shuts off or something goes wrong, the brakes are automaticly deployed by a backup generator and are released to stop any oncoming trains. If the backup generator is not being used correctly, then the magnets on the coaster on Superman would apply. The magnets won't neccessarily stop the train right away but would make sure that the cars don't continue to move backwards and pick up speed. The magnets will probably make the train stop and move a little forward back to the hill, but there would not enough momentum to psuh the car back up the hill AT ALL!


As u can see, there are many precautions that are taken to ensure that a coaster does not crash. Superman: The Escape had cost 20 million dollars which means that there will have a very modern and excellant braking system that will ensure no accidents. The worst thing that could hapeen is that the coaster will shoot off at 5 miles per hour and not go anywhere. (Which is pretty terrible if you really want to ride the coaster. :) HA!) According to a quote from amusement today, the chance of someone being hurt in a roller coaster accident is at least 50,000,000 to 1 if not greater and the chances of being killed on a roller coaster is over 350,000,000 to 1. Coasters are alot safer than riding an airplane. And Superman: The Escape is very safe and will have at least two backup systems and braking systems just for emergencys.


Tell ur wife that Superman is very safe and a great thrill. If I were u, there is a great trick to do. Bring a tennis ball on the ride and tell her not to lose that tennis ball or else... Then she will be concerned about losing the tennis ball and forget about the ride. Superman has 6.5 seconds of weightlessness which means that at the top of the ride let the ball go, the ball will float in the air because u are in a freefall state. In a freefall state everything falls at the same rate no matter how much an object weighs. The speed is like 32(Vsquared or something) I forget exactly. The tennis ball will float for a while and before u shot back down, grab the ball. It is an extremely cool trick, tell ur wife that she has got to see it to believe it. Sorry about the long post, I hope this helps, bye.

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Dave
*** This post was edited by ACE15 on 4/6/2001. ***
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 1:19 PM
All of the coasters I ever worked on used power to keep the spring-loaded brakes open...so if the power goes out...boing! clamp! skiiiidddddd! Aww man!

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Decisions determine destiny; Destiny determines decisions.
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 1:43 PM
Thank you so much, ACE15. Now, hopefully, I'll have enough information to get her on it! About the statistics you quoted, I read somewhere that you are actually more likely to die watching T.V. than you are riding a roller coaster! Anyway, thanks for the info.

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"If you can't keep up with the conversation, I suggest you stay out of it..." Hannibal Lecter
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 2:16 PM
A couple of statistics for your wife. Last year you were 70 times as likely to be killed driving to and from the amusement park as on a ride, just due to the normal dangers of driving. Last year only one person was killed on a ride, and he was an idiot who got out of the boat half way through Splash Mountain. No one was killed on a roller coaster. You are also more likely to be killed spending the day at home than at an amusement park.
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 3:02 PM
And among rides at a park...roller coasters are among the safest. I think the most dangerous have to be those river raft rides. I've seen my fair share of overturned rafts....

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Decisions determine destiny; Destiny determines decisions.
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 4:49 PM

ACE15 said:
"Bring a tennis ball on the ride and tell her not to lose that tennis ball or else... Then she will be concerned about losing the tennis ball and forget about the ride. Superman has 6.5 seconds of weightlessness which means that at the top of the ride let the ball go, the ball will float in the air because u are in a freefall state. In a freefall state everything falls at the same rate no matter how much an object weighs. The speed is like 32(Vsquared or something) I forget exactly. The tennis ball will float for a while and before u shot back down, grab the ball."


I think SFMM will ban you from the park if the tennis ball falls into the wheels by chance & fouls up the whole thing! :)

Not to be critical man, just a friendly tip, please use paragraphs as just one long one is harder to read! ;)

I've ridden the single-track Aussie version of STE, Tower of Terror and noticed all the failsafes. I'm sure that the LSMs, even when not working, will act as magnetic brakes. Power is normally applied to brake harder than this. Behind the station is off-shoot track with friction brakes closed tightly. No permanent magnets to 'catch' the car as a sling-shot could occur - not good at all. If all else fails, the end of the off-shoot track has a reinforced barricade with huge spring plungers like that on train tracks.

There are also closed friction brakes at the top of the tower if too much power is used. Once the car slows to a stop, its weight allows it to slowly fall off again & the off-shoot is possibly used.

*** This post was edited by CoasterGod on 4/5/2001. ***
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 5:00 PM
Behind the launch area is a curtained-off area of track that has brakes on it. If the normal brakes don't work, the car will fly through the station, through the curtain, and will hit backup brakes. I've seen this happen a couple times, it is very safe. They are pneumatic (I think) brakes that are always closed.
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Thursday, April 5, 2001 8:14 PM

And I have seen it make it through all the safety brakes and hit the barrels of water. A friend of mine experience this as well on another visit. Talk about a soaking, and a sore neck.
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"And none may dare entreat further, for to invoke death is to utter the final prayer."
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Friday, April 6, 2001 12:30 AM

GhostriderCCI said:
"And I have seen it make it through all the safety brakes and hit the barrels of water. A friend of mine experience this as well on another visit. Talk about a soaking, and a sore neck."

Are you talking about S:TE? I don't know much about it, but that's impossible for me to believe. You're saying that a $20M+ hi-tech ride depends on barrels of water for safety? Intamin might like to snap lift chains every once in a while (just kidding ;)), I couldn't see them allowing this to happen.
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Friday, April 6, 2001 5:22 AM
I didn't remember that either. I found 2 pictures of the maintenance area and there is nothing that looks like barrels of water.

S:TE is no different from their Giant Drops in that regard. The brakes are failsafe, and Inatmin knows the maximum speed that the car can reach on the way down. Barrels of water? There isn't a pile of bubble wrap on the giant drops in case they don't slow down all the way.

If there really are barrels of water you are welcome to prove me wrong by showing me a picture, but the ones I have seen of the maintenance area show nothing of the sort.

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- Peabody *** This post was edited by Peabody on 4/6/2001. ***
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Friday, April 6, 2001 12:23 PM
First of all, u are welcome G-Man! I have read many articles and have done a lot of research on the mechanics and physics applied to roller coasters. I have a lot of background information, but I'm not trying to brag though.


Second, CoasterGod, u are incorrect. SFMM does allow this. I have seen it occur many many times on TV. On a show called Greatest Thrill Rides on TLC, they show kids from a school during a physics trip to SFMM bring a tennis ball and release it at the top. It is stated in many articles and is a known fact that SFMM does allow this event to take place. If the ball happened to all in the wheels, u may not survive :) but they could easily ban u from the park and a lawsuit could occur. I just know that tennis balls are allowed on the ride. I think it is impossible for the ball to get stuck in the wheels. Freefalls won't allow balls to get stuck under the wheels. The ball falls at the same rate as the train and would not fly under the wheels.


Lastly, Jim Fisher u are also incorrect. Last year at the Shockwave at PKD, a man died on a roller coaster. I know this because it's my home park and it was all over the news. PKD painted the ride a different color to trick people into going onto the ride because they would not be able to recognize the change. The man I think if I remember correctly was having a heart attack while on the ride and was able to get out of his restraints or his restraints came undone but the man fell to the ground and died. Oh, the man probably easily got out of the restraints because Shockwave at PKD has over the shoulder restraints not horsecollars. The over the shoulder restraints go only over each arm not across the chests and it is stand up and a person could easily slide out of the restraints if need be. Shockwave in my opinion is very unsafe and rough and is one of only a few coasters left in the world that use over the shoulder and not horsecollar that apply across the chest. Another long post, I write way too much, gotta cut back.

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Dave
*** This post was edited by ACE15 on 4/6/2001. ***
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Friday, April 6, 2001 6:10 PM
ACE15:
The death on Shockwave at PKD occurred August 23, 1999. It did not occur in 2000. Five days later, a woman and her daughter were killed on a wild mouse at one of the piers in New Jersey due to a mechanical failure caused by poor maintenance. These were the most recent rollercoaster related deaths reported in the US.

You also have the circumstances of the death on Shockwave confused. The rider was a young man in good health. According to his friend who was next to him on the ride, he was engaged in horseplay and deliberatly slipped out of the restraints. He then flew off the coaster on one of the turns. The sheriff's investigation cleared the park of any blame. This is well documented on several web sites that report on amusement ride accidents.

I have ridden Shockwave several times. While I don't like Togo's restraints as well as the restraints on other standup coasters, I have to say it would take considerable work to get out of them. They guy that was killed must have been thinner and more flexible than I am.
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Friday, April 6, 2001 6:36 PM
ACE15: "U" is not a word, it's a letter. I'd appreciate it if you posted within the guidelines of our terms of service and use proper spelling. Thanks.

http://www.coasterbuzz.com/about/#TOS

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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