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About Alpenguy

  • Birthday February 2

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  1. For the theoretical cause discussion: Human error accidents with complex automated systems tend to have a chain of multiple small issues leading to a mistake. Speaking as another person with manual mode experience on block-heavy coasters, I agree with the others on the block-reset theory. Here's a little scenario that could explain how this regular procedure, given several smaller mishaps combining, could've led to the crash. 1). Imagine an unlikely and probably insignificant event added into the mix: Management override. The ride was down before, and maybe someone in an authority position decided to gently violate policy and not evacuate the lift while resetting. Automatic emergency stop due to a timeout at the post-batwing block? Well, it's windy, guess it just took its sweet time getting there (but it's not there!). Maybe it's common to have block timeouts with empty trains on a windy day; I can think of another ride that certainly did. Consider the possibility that a new, frustrated, overbearing manager unfamiliar with Smiler could demand a seemingly minor deviation from procedure, and that inexperienced and/or trusting operators (I'm assuming maintenance rather than ops, but it could be ops at some parks) submit to this authority and proceed. 2.) Figure (combined with a break from policy) the coaster has been reset moving backwards but not quite to the first lift. In most cases, a train stopped on the track is not going to flag a sensor, and PLC's generally forget everything about block occupation when reset. Alton Towers also loves lift stops, or at least has in the past. Camera out? Lift stop. Something wacky? Lift stop. I would bet most AT operations folks see a train stopped on a lift and assume that's the deal, rather than a more significant downtime. Imagine maintenance responder Ringo needs his lunch break, and Paul shows up to take over. "'Ello govnah, well, you can see where we're at," says Ringo has he leaves. Paul doesn't look at the PLC printout to see that the coaster went down for a possible valleyed train, he just sees the lift stop. It seems ridiculous that there wouldn't be thorough information handoff, but people in routines have caused ship/plane/industrial accidents many times by not passing along information. Maintenance guy Paul then resets the lift, placing it in motion and causing the crash. It really is impossible to crash things (outside true full manual mode) if all procedures are air-tight and they are perfectly followed. Considering the Saw closure, it seems possible that there is some rare combination of events in the Gerstlauer ride systems that could potentially lead to this tragedy during normal procedures. However, I bet when the report comes out, what seems like one big human error moment is going to be a string of several small ones. Everyone in a fail-safe level job should remember that and speak up when something small happens. Five 1% chances of 1/5th a disaster will line up eventually.
  2. I guess this just comes from living in California, but is anyone else surprised that the whole building structure is wood? You just don't see any sort of public structure without some sort of steel frame out here.
  3. Heh, dispatch interval isn't an issue. Space Mountain has a strict, measured and ride system enforced weight limit on each train. Sometimes there need to be empty seats to make it. 12 football players? A row is getting pulled out at dispatch or everyone is going to the left and getting regrouped the hard way. Now think about who mostly uses single rider lines (AP's)...
  4. I remember Invertigo getting stuck once or twice when I worked there way back when, but it was at the base of the far lift after a miscatch and subsequent e-stop. Couldn't have taken more than 30 minutes to unload the one I saw, and I think they added a concrete pad under that spot just to make it easier in the future.
  5. The best thing about the new, fin-style LSMs vs. LIMs is that when the power is cut they naturally act as a conductive medium for eddy current braking. Meaning that unlike the hydraulic rocket coasters that have to pop up copper brake fins in case of rollback, iSpeed's LSM fins on the track do the exact same thing as soon as power is lost anyway. To get perspective on that with LIMs, California Screamin has mechanical caliper brakes all along its LIM lift hill in case of power loss. If Maverick loses power on the lift, it gently glides back down.
  6. It's entirely possible to have awesome atmosphere around a ride without heavy theming.
  7. MATH ALERT 23 seconds is really not a ridiculous loading expectation- the trains look pretty easy to step into, and assuming it's just a constant motion ignoring strict block sections in the station or a multi-subzone system (so trains are back to back) it doesn't have to move THAT fast. (X-car train is somewhere around 25-30ft long including minimal space between trains, so really only a little over 1ft/sec. or about 1mph) A realistic capacity number if they're really good about single riders and maxing out the blocks would be 1750/hr. Theoretical based on 23.0s dispatch is 1878/hr, but a lot of rides will run out of vehicles if they always hit their minimum interval and with the walkway system they'll probably keep a little breathing room. The only thing that might take some figuring out is grouping people to fill everything, and Universal tends to take a much more signage-heavy, hands on approach to that than Disney so they've probably come up with something smart. An RFID enable sounds pretty sweet, though there's no way that would ever fly in California. Really, I think a simple tandem load scheme (like USH Mummy) would work just as well or better with a lot less to worry about mechanically/electrically, but knowing Universal they'd probably staff 3-4 more positions just to do that, and those savings add up really fast even with several hundred thousand spent on a fancy moving walkway deal. [/math] SO excited to ride this next year!
  8. Nice TR. Do they still have the round, spinny bumper cars?
  9. Disney lists the general manufacturers as "subcontractors" and themselves at the manufacturer. Since Disney is the official manufacturer, the substantial inhouse engineering group can modify and support the ride to their heart's content.
  10. Mr. Six is original and an actual character. The "more flags more fun" bit doesn't really make sense, and is... well that's the whole thing right there. Hooray for Mr. Six!
  11. Haven't been on it in like 3 years, but as I remember the exit's perpetual cotton candy and vomit stench was pretty awful. I wouldn't miss Vortex except for the awesome drop-turn to corkscrew insanity bit, which would be sad to lose.
  12. Now did she really say "at speeds of up to 50mph and hurled down drops of 53ft"? 53? 53? Maybe I'm just in shock it's not an American saying "Yep I went on that thar big coaster thing and he just popped out." That's really bizarre she could fit comfortably in a flying coaster seat, yet not know she's pregnant...
  13. I'm very excited to ride this next year, and happy to see a nice high capacity, small train short interval coaster. They're just so much fun to watch in action. Judging by the NL model, there should be plenty of breathing room on the brake sections to manage 1800/hr, and USO is one place I bet has the guts to run such a thing all out. That rolling loop looks really cool too, nice to have one closer than Norway.
  14. I hope CGA finally does get some sort of coaster in that spot. Maybe after Thrustair presumably losing out to noise, and then a wooden coaster, a quieter option* will arise. All the new additions to the park are very classy, and operations seem to be on a great track. *Maverick type with scream tubes if there is any justice in this world! Probably 10 million over what CF will allocate though.
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