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Zingoman
02-20-2006, 04:56 AM
With the news of the Busch Sky Ride malfunction, I am reminded of something of a mystery that I have wondered about for quite a while. Once apon a time, many parks had sky rides but at some point, many were removed supposedly due to safety issues and/or something that had occured somewhere involving a Sky Ride catastrophe. I was wondering if there are any factual stories out there, gruesome or otherwise, about sky rides or the reason that many were removed other than to make way for new attractions.

Sir Willow
02-20-2006, 06:23 AM
The biggest reasons they've been removed is due to age and high cost of staffing and/or maintaining them.

Out in California, they've also claimed the danger of earthquakes. But as far as I know, the skyrides that are and were there didn't have any problems when the quakes did hit.

In any case, I'd point you to rideaccidents.com and look for non-coaster incidents. You'll find a couple of things there.

Katie
02-20-2006, 07:50 AM
I remember reading about an accident in the Texas county fair about a sky ride. I believe they still have it, just upgraded the ride so it didn't malfunction again. At least I think I remember reading that a few months ago.

Cephas
02-20-2006, 08:59 AM
Carowinds removed its sky ride after an accident at PKI or PKD (I don't remember which).

slnewbus
02-20-2006, 10:10 AM
I have always wondered about that too. Skyrides have always been the one ride I get nervous on.

James
02-20-2006, 10:52 AM
Rides911 had a story on the skyride at SFSTl where a car drop'd from the cable and 2 or 3 people died and 1 lived.

Ryan F
02-20-2006, 01:20 PM
LaRonde's is still up but has not been running for a long time. A while back during morning tests one of the cars fell into the lake in the middle of the park. Thakfully nobody was on it because those things were fully enclosed, there was probably no way anybody would've survived.
If you're at the park you can still see the old stations with all the cars in them.

Bencerisback
02-20-2006, 01:29 PM
Rides911 had a story on the skyride at SFSTl where a car drop'd from the cable and 2 or 3 people died and 1 lived.


Those skyrides and skilifts always freak me out, I am always scared that the cable is going to break or something

James
02-20-2006, 01:41 PM
Tuesday, July 26, 1978 - Three people were killed at Six Flags Mid-America (St. Louis) theme park in Eureka, Missouri after their gondola car fell from the park's Skyway ride. Another person, also riding in the car, was seriously injured. The ride was shut down immediately, leaving nearly 100 stranded in the 27 remaining cars, some of which had stopped at heights of up to 200 feet. Firefighters were called to the park to rescue the occupants of those cars. A park spokesman claimed that the car simply "dropped off" its cable.


Saturday, October 21, 1979 - On the Swiss Sky Ride at the Texas State Fair, two gondola cars dropped 85 feet from the ride's cable to the ground. One man was killed, a 20-year-old woman was left a quadriplegic, and 17 other riders were injured. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded that the ride's operators knew of defects in the ride, but failed to report them. The woman won a $3.1 million settlement on the basis that the ride had been operated negligently in high winds.

2 things I found off Rides911.

Jerry S
02-20-2006, 01:42 PM
I remember once about 7 years ago, Somewhere in Europe, probably in the Alps, a small plane hit and snapped the cable of a real ski lift and several cars with people just slid off and killed some passengers.

magnum_man1989
02-20-2006, 01:55 PM
I feel perfectly safe when riding on these. I love them. The view of the park that you get from riding CP's is fantastic. They do need to make it a little longer so it stretches over to TTD.

BatwingFan SFA
02-20-2006, 02:08 PM
Carowinds removed its sky ride after an accident at PKI or PKD (I don't remember which).

Must've been PKI's because as far as I know no accidents involving PKD's sky ride had ever occured & perhaps that's the reason it was removed.The only deaths that ever occured at PKD to my knowledge were in 1983 when a 13 year old was thrown from the galaxi coaster,1999 when a 20 year old was thrown from shockwave<that land must be cursed or something> & a man who commited suicide by jumping from the upper level observation deck on the eiffel tower which is why the upper deck has since been closed.

Hank
02-20-2006, 02:27 PM
CP used to have an additional sky ride that started around where Mantis is now and went to Frontiertown - the building is still there next to the Mine Ride.

Zingoman
02-20-2006, 02:46 PM
I never did hear why they removed the Frontier Lift at CP. I suppose it is because they have the C.P. & L.E. R.R. for the back of the park, and the Sky Ride for the front. No use maintaing both, and rides like Iron Dragon, Mantis and Millennium now occupy the path the old lift took. It is neat to see the old building back in Frontier Town though. The front station was in the area now occupied by Coasters Drive Through I believe.

Johnny Upsidedown
02-20-2006, 03:35 PM
SFMM also had a bucket fall and kill a man.

Saturday, February 5, 1978 - At Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park in Valencia, California, a man was killed after a gondola car of the Skybucket ride slipped from its cable and plunged 50 feet to the ground. The man's wife was also seriously injured in the crash.

Homer
02-20-2006, 04:34 PM
SFMM's would still stick around though, but theirs was removed shortly after the Northridge Earthquake.

Coaster Nana
02-20-2006, 05:10 PM
In February, 1998, a US Marine surveillance aircraft cut a ski cable in Italy and caused the death of 20 skiers in a gondola cable car in the Alps. Four crewman (enlisted) were charged with negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty. The pilot and navigator (officers) were also charged with manslaughter, but were acquitted of the manslaughter and homicide charges and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges for destroying the video tape that was on another aircraft, which indicated they were flying upside down--can you say cover-up? The two officers were dismissed from the Marines and served short prison terms. I can't find out what happened to the enlisted guys. The families of those killed settled for $2 million each.

cannonballer
02-20-2006, 05:32 PM
When you say sky ride, you mean like a chair lift? the kind at Lake winnie?

I know people that are very scared of it and wont ride it but I think its the best I have been on, Right over the lake!

Hector
02-20-2006, 09:50 PM
I never did hear why they removed the Frontier Lift at CP... Iron Dragon

There, fixed for your information.

Physix
02-20-2006, 10:28 PM
This brings back a question I had when we visited San Diego. Are the wires that have lights that are on the Sky Tower at SWSD actual support wires? Or do they just hold the lights on them?

It would make sense to me to have decorated support wires on sky towers in earthquake areas.

RollerNut
02-20-2006, 11:27 PM
Carowinds removed its sky ride after an accident at PKI or PKD (I don't remember which).
Carowinds removed theirs in 1983, assuming for the remodeling of the island into "Smurf Island". PKI removed their's in 1980, and PKD removed their's sometime after Paramount took over.

Marc
02-21-2006, 12:03 AM
Detachable lifts require more daily maintenance than fixed lifts. I really don't know much about other detachables other than CP's Sky ride so my infromation comes from that ride. Older rides didn't have the safety systems that Sky Ride does now.

Each cabin on Sky Ride has a grip. Basically it's two pieces of lined metal that sit on the wire rope. There is a lever arm that stick above where the wire rope attaches to the grip. Move it to one direction and it locks in the grip positon, move it in the other direction and it opens the grip. It detents in either the open or closed position and requires quite a bit of force on the lever to move it into the other direction.

Obviously, the cabins ride on while gripped to the wire rope when out of the station, and moves through the station on a pair of rails overhead. Trip is the position that sends the cabins out and catch takes them. This is where the magic happens.

Now put yourself in a cabin. You just got in, the door gets closed, locked and your ready to go. You get moved to the trip position and will be the next cabin out. The trip host checks your door and carefully moves you forward onto the trip. Basically all the trip does is hold you back untill it's okay for you to move forward. Your near the top of a slope down towards the cable. Basically when the ride is ready, the trip moves forward and your cabin rolls down the hill gaining speed. It about matches the wire rope speed from the short slope and is lifted by it and sits on it. This causes the grip to match the speed of the wire rope with minimal wear. At that moment, a cam pushes the grip lever arm over and it grips onto the wire rope and locks. Just past that point there are a series of sensors that form the closed loop. The sensors detect that the grip is correctly placed and locked as well as other factors. If anything fails such as the cabin is not attached to the wire rope, then the ride will automatically Estop. At that point the cabin is a few feet off the ground but well within the station limit. If the grip locks okay, then you are permitted to proceed.

After a fun ride you approch the other station. When you get to it, basically you will do the same as trip but in reverse. What happens is there is a rerailer to connect the wheels to the track in the station. It lines the wheels up and the track lifts up on the cabin. When the cabin is lifted by the track, another cam releases the grip. After that there are sensors to detect if the grip released properly. If not, Estop. If it did then the cabin rolls up the same grade as on the other side and slows down then is caught by the host. There is also an antirollback placed on the upslope to prevent a cabin from rolling back onto the wire rope. At that point the host opens your door and you are let out.

Even if the grip failed (unlikely) and the sensor doesn't see it (very unlikely) the cabin should ride on the grip normally. If it fails and falls off the grip even when opened, then each tower has a limit swtch that will estop the ride when it detects the cabin off of it's grip. Even if the limit switch fails too then the cabin will most likely make it over the guide wheeils on the towers. It would take some windy condtions to throw a cabin off while not gripped. Once gripped it would take a heck of a lot to remove the cabin from the grip. That heck of a lot is well covered at this ride will only run in light winds. They are very good about predicting any storms that come to shut this ride down long before they approch.

As for the wire rope, They have very specific guidelines as to what can and cannot happen. The ride detects broken wires. The ride will estop. Maintenance will come. They will cut the wires off so they stay put inside the wire rope and mark the area. The ride will be restarted to get the rides off. Then they will throughly inspect the wire rope especially at the point of breakage and splice. They will look for very specific signs that they do every morning. Check how many wires are broken in that area of the wire rope, log the broken wire and where it is at. Check the diameter of the cable and make sure it hasn't decreased. Make sure there are no flat spots or abrasion wear. They will check the tensioner to make sure the wire rope hasn't increased in length. There are sensors that will detect a specific amount of increase in the wire rope length, They break on contact so they have to be replaced if tripped. When these and other inspection of the wire rope and detection systems are verified, then the ride will reopen.

Why is running a ride with broken wires safe? Easy, the wire rope has many wires, it can take 4 out of 5 wire failure and not break as long as they are not flailing off the wire rope. The guidelines are very specific in the number of wires that can be broken within a given amount of distance in the wire rope and in the strands. (groups of wires wound together, strands are wound around a core to makeup the wire rope)

Now I'm sure someone is thinking: "But MF's cable snapped...." It sure did. Apparently there weren't strict guidelines about how many wires could be broken since the ride has antirollbacks and the wire rope isn't used as a safety device. The antirollbacks are extremely reliable, if they fail in some insane act of god (so to speak), then the wire rope will be pulled down the hill at the mercy of gravity. Since MF's wire rope is not used as a safety device, it's safety factor isn't as high and neither are it's guidelines for replacement. It was known for a while that the wire rope was in getting close to failure. They had but a couple days before they would have had days to replace it. Didn't quite make it. The train was full of employees and nobody was injured. These days, the wire rope is replaced when it should be, after a very few number of seperation. At this point, the wire rope is well within safe operation even up to the last train sent on the wire rope. I'm pretty sure MF is on it's 3rd wire rope right now and the current one still has every wire intact.

Sky ride's wire rope is a different story. It's met it's last run and will be replace, probably this or next week. Cedar Point will be covering the replacement and splicing on it's online blog.

Zingoman
02-21-2006, 12:31 AM
This is what kicked me in the pants about MF's cable breaking. They apparently called in to the company that supplied them the cable when it was beginning to fray, and they said to wrap it with duct tape. Needless to say, it did not buy them the necessary time. Duct tape? That just seems like a very unprofessional remedy, so matter how temporary. If I ever see duct tape on a Sky Ride cable, I'm sticking to the midway. ;) That is very awesome how many safety devices they have installed on CP's sky ride though. I never knew about any of the sensors on it. I just knew that it had a grip. With that in mind, I am very questionable as to how on earth a gondola could have fallen from any of the rides listed this far in the thread. Did the car break away from the grip entirely? I also have doubts that the one at SFStL would have been over two hundred feet tall. Can you imagine hanging in a sky ride cabin on top of Magnum, or Mamba? Yikes! These rides, while I do enjoy them, always make me nervous.

RollerNut
02-21-2006, 12:44 AM
Oh, come on. Duct tape fixes everything, ain't nothing like 100MPH Duct Tape. It does sort of redneckish.

Marc
02-21-2006, 01:23 AM
Duct tape used was never intended to hold the wire rope together. It is very useful in holding the broken wires to the wire rope. If a broken wire frys out, when it travels over a pulley or by the track, it will snag and cause problems. Early on, it kept the wires to the rope well. Later on a 20 minute duct taping would last for maybe 10 hours. At that point the ride shouldn't have been run but they tried to keep the ride up despite for a few more days. They learned their lesson on how far to push it even though unlike skyride, a wire failure won't cause cabins to drop.

The failures on lifts were more common back then. The concept of detachable cabins was new and the overall safety consciousness was also much less. Lawsuits weren't as much of a problem either. PLC's were either very expensive or not practical back then too. PLC's are what give roller coasters a much higher safety factor, especially when multiple units are run. From top to bottom they are designed to fail in a safe mannar including a secondary PLC for safety. Sensors and switches are also much more sensitive and practical for detecting problems too.

When it comes down to it, duct tape is useful. It's not the prettiest, but it blends in with the wire rope and has enough strength to take a beating for a while. It's also the only thing that would work for holding the wires to the rope too. When replacing bolts, welding, replacing parts for new or refurbished, and any other proper methods of maintenance are required, then they are done as such. When duct tape simply works better than anything else then it will be used. I've seen it used to hold a pad onto a lapbar while the glue dried. A good duct taping job doesn't look that bad. Sometimes most people can't even tell, especially when colored duct tape is used.

Brian F
02-21-2006, 01:37 AM
How many people, if they saw duct tape on the cable of a sky ride, would NOT soil their shorts?

Sandy W
02-21-2006, 06:56 AM
LOL, Duct tape? What scares me is yes it has many uses but you can tear it with your hand. Would that really reinforce that wire rope. Are there much stronger versions of duct tape then the rolls I have sitting around the house? Whats 100 MPH duct tape for wind conditions that high.

Brian F
02-21-2006, 07:28 AM
^It does nothing to reinforce the cable, they only use it to keep any broken wires from fraying off of the main "rope." which it would work well for. The appearance would scare people, though.

Some versions of duct tape are stronger than others, but there's no standard for duct tape strength. It's just a difference that comes from quality standards of the materials, and the manufacturing process. 100mph, or 20omph tape are just slang names for it. 200mph tape comes, no doubt, from it's use to cover holes on race cars.

Marc
02-21-2006, 10:18 AM
Duct tape is defined to be a fiber tape with rubber based adhesive. It was originally named Duck Tape as it was made to waterproof ammunition casings during WW2. Later on it was called duct tape. It's an ironic name as it doesn't work well on ducts.

While duct tape has a low sheer strength (useful for tearing it by hand), it does have a good enough tensile and adhesion strength to make it useful.

When you compare a single wire to duct tape in tensile strength, the wire will break at a few thousand pounds, good duct tape will take maybe 100 lbs. There is no way it will support a wire rope that pulls over 30,000 lbs. It can however hold the wires to the rope very easily.

Imagine if you snag a single wire on the track. It will pull on the other wires untill freed or it snaps again. Either way, it will cause damage to the other wires accelerating wear. A little bit of duct tape later and that problem is solved, for a while. Of course duct tape should never be used to replace a new wire rope. Again, lessons were learned by MF.

If you are wondering why I call the "cables" by the name "wire rope," cable is a much more vauge term where wire rope is a specific name. A while ago I went to radio shack to buy a coaxial cable for my cable tv and seen a cable spool on the back of a flatbed truck while I was driving under power cables.

JamMasterJ
02-21-2006, 10:00 PM
1999 when a 20 year old was thrown from shockwave

Wasn't that because he didn't fasten his restraint properly on purpose? Sorry if someone else has already mentiond this; I forgot to go check.

Bratman
02-21-2006, 10:43 PM
A number of years ago, at the Centreville Amusement Park on Centre Island in Toronto, there was an incident where a passing boat with a way too high mast clipped a gondola on their Sky Ride, causing it to flip (they use the ski lift type of gondolas). I remember the poor lady on the ride held on for dear life to the chair, but she was rescued without injury. Even if she had fallen, at least she would have fallen into a 6-8 foot channel, likely minimizing injuries.

Ryan F
02-21-2006, 11:52 PM
I was always terrified of that ski-lift/sky ride at Centre Island. I hated how you had to pretty much run up to it and wait for it to hit your butt so you can sit.

Sandy W
02-22-2006, 08:01 AM
Thanks Marc that was interesting bit about the duct tape and the overall workings of the skyride on the earlier post. I never ran one but would watch others while passing to go to my ride. I feel much safer knowing all the devices that go into keeping it all safe. I was never a height chicken the higher it is the better to see everything in the park. I'm sorry for those who got rid of their sky rides. You could go for a ride and line up the days activities and maybe spot a pal who got split up from your group too.

Komatz70
02-22-2006, 08:32 AM
I remember once about 7 years ago, Somewhere in Europe, probably in the Alps, a small plane hit and snapped the cable of a real ski lift and several cars with people just slid off and killed some passengers.
That was an accident involving an American military jet ...pilot error, he wasn't even supposed to be there.

CoasterDJ
02-25-2006, 01:12 AM
Wasn't that because he didn't fasten his restraint properly on purpose? Sorry if someone else has already mentiond this; I forgot to go check.

If this is the one that I am remembering, to my knowledge and memory, this wasn't really an issue of him not fastening his restraint.
If memory serves me correctly, this was before Shockwave added the seatbelts to the ride (between both halves of the shoulder restraints).

BatWing, again, if I recall correctly, the guest wasn't thrown from the ride. While waiting on the brakerun, the guest slipped out of his restraint (which at this time didn't yet have the seat belts) and fell down and landed on a maintenance catwalk beneath the ride's main track.

Now, back to the subject of the thread. I have never worried too awfully much over skyrides. For one, I have a lot of faith in parks that if their skyride (or for that matter, any ride) is inherently not safe, then they will do what they need to, to make it that way.

BatwingFan SFA
02-25-2006, 09:44 AM
If this is the one that I am remembering, to my knowledge and memory, this wasn't really an issue of him not fastening his restraint.
If memory serves me correctly, this was before Shockwave added the seatbelts to the ride (between both halves of the shoulder restraints).

BatWing, again, if I recall correctly, the guest wasn't thrown from the ride. While waiting on the brakerun, the guest slipped out of his restraint (which at this time didn't yet have the seat belts) and fell down and landed on a maintenance catwalk beneath the ride's main track.

Now, back to the subject of the thread. I have never worried too awfully much over skyrides. For one, I have a lot of faith in parks that if their skyride (or for that matter, any ride) is inherently not safe, then they will do what they need to, to make it that way.

It was not on the brakerun trust me,the guy forced his way out of the restraints just to show off & was thrown going into the final curve under the lift just before the camelbacks approaching the brakerun.

michael_coaster
02-26-2006, 12:40 PM
I found this on ride accidents. THERES ALOT OF THEM...last time I ride one of those.
"Saturday, February 5, 1978 - At Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park in Valencia, California, a man was killed after a gondola car of the Skybucket ride slipped from its cable and plunged 50 feet to the ground. The man's wife was also seriously injured in the crash"

"Tuesday, July 26, 1978 - Three people were killed at Six Flags Mid-America (St. Louis) theme park in Eureka, Missouri after their gondola car fell from the park's Skyway ride. Another person, also riding in the car, was seriously injured. The ride was shut down immediately, leaving nearly 100 stranded in the 27 remaining cars, some of which had stopped at heights of up to 200 feet. Firefighters were called to the park to rescue the occupants of those cars. A park spokesman claimed that the car simply "dropped off" its cable"

James
02-27-2006, 01:13 AM
Both ones you just posted are on the first page of this topic.

Zingoman
02-27-2006, 02:21 AM
How does a gondola simply drop off? It has to be more complicated than that. Something broke apparently, but 200 ft tall? Did they have 200 foot tall sky rides in 78? I want to see a photo of the old SFStL Sky Ride.

CoasterDJ
02-27-2006, 03:18 AM
Batwing,

While I am still certain that I recall something about a man slipping out of a coaster and landing on a maintenance catwalk, and I want to associate this with Shockwave....I cant locate anything to support this thought, except my own memory. Maybe it was a theory that was circulating about that time before a final report had been released, I dont know.

However, it would appear as though I was in error and that you are right - even though, I dont know why that sticks in my head like it does. I was in error, and I can admit it.

Now back to your regularly scheduled forum.

goingcoasting
02-27-2006, 09:46 AM
I found a picture of the SFStL SkyWay. Remember that SFStL is built on a very hilly terrain, so it is possible that parts would be 200ft.