Amusement Ride Technology and Safety

For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in amusement rides. Not just as entertainment, but also as machinery. I'm not a trained engineer, but I try to think like one, and I have a reasonable understanding of how systems work. With that in mind, perhaps you'll find some of this material interesting...

A Patron's View of Ride Safety: In February of 2008, I gave a presentation for a ride safety seminar. To see my slide show and hear what I had to say, have a look at this movie.

Amusement Ride Patents: I've replicated a couple of important or interesting amusement ride related patents. When I started the project, there weren't hardly any sources for patent information on the 'Web. Now, every US patent ever issued is available on the Patent and Trademark Office Website so I've mostly dropped my project. But what I have is available here!

How Roller Coaster Cars Work (or don't): Some coaster cars can steer better than others, and some can't steer at all. Am I missing something? If the problem is so obvious to me, how come it isn't obvious to certain manufacturers? This one started as an explanation for rec.roller-coaster of why certain rides are rough.

Roller Coaster Blocking Systems: Most coasters today operate multiple trains, and in order to keep those trains from crashing into each other, those coasters are equipped with block safety systems. Some states, in fact, mandate the use of blocking systems by law! Here's a basic explanation of how they work.

Linear Electric Motors: This article was commissioned by the European Coaster Club (ECC) for Issue 53/54 of First Drop. One of these days I might get around to illustrating it a bit as it appears here.

Six Flags, What Were You Thinking? In 2000, all of the Six Flags parks distributed a comic book as part of the obligatory park guidebook. Some of the artwork was quite interesting, particularly since 1999 had been a bad year for amusement ride accidents...

What Happened to Superman: Ride of Steel? Roller coaster collisions are among the most common roller coaster accidents. But how did a brake failure happen on a ride where brake failure is "physically impossible"?

What is an Eli Bridge Co. Cycloid? A relatively new flat ride that it seems nobody has heard of, but I certainly enjoy it. Have a look to see what I'm talking about.

Roller Coaster Control Panels: Photos of roller coaster control panels. Bear in mind that not all control panels are mounted in NEMA-rated cabinets!

A Model Coaster Hoisting Mechanism: Specifically proposed for a K'Nex roller coaster model, but could be otherwise adapted. Mechanical and electrical diagrams included. It's just theoretical at the moment, based on a late-night conversation on a discussion board.

The Vekoma SLC Anti-Rollback system: A couple of photos that explain how the anti-rollback dogs on the Suspended Looping Coaster work. Again, a response to a discussion board query.

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