Often, people ask whether or not roller coasters get stuck. There are a number of reasons as to why people ask this question. However, there is one thing that most roller coasters do not do.
During a recent trip to Carowinds in North Carolina, a group of riders had an experience that lasted well over forty minutes. One of the park’s most thrilling attractions, the Flying Cobra, suddenly stopped working. This was not a problem, however, as the ride’s maintenance crew quickly responded to the call. In fact, some riders were lucky enough to be saved from the abyss.
The cobra is a 125 foot tall looping coaster that sends riders through a looping loop at speeds of up to 50 mph. It flips riders six times on its way. The coaster is said to be the tallest of its kind in the country.
X-Coaster roller coasters get stuck on occasion, but what happened in July 2017 at Magic Springs & Crystal Falls amusement park in Orlando is a whole new ball game. The roller coaster was unable to make its way down the track because of a power outage.
Thankfully, it was a short lived problem and guests were able to enjoy the park afterward. However, it was an event that caused a fair amount of consternation among patrons. In particular, the park manager was surrounded by a sea of angry patrons. Many of them were displeased with the lack of urgency displayed by park workers.
The roller coaster isn’t the only one that suffers from power outages, as several other rides at the park were shut down on Saturday evening. Several rides were closed due to maintenance personnel attending a broken down coaster.
Getting stuck on a roller coaster is terrifying. It is rare to get stuck on one. However, this did happen on Demon at Six Flags Great America. In April 1998, 23 riders were left upside down for two hours. Although the park defended its decision to shut the coaster down, the situation had dire consequences for the people trapped on the ride.
At first, park officials tried to free the trapped riders. During the rescue, the stranded riders remained calm. But once the coaster stopped, the rescue equipment had trouble getting to the loop location. One ladder truck could only reach about 110 feet. The last rider was left waiting four hours in 95 degree heat.
Poltergeist and roller coasters are not a traditional bedtime story. But the other day, 20 park goers were stranded on the Poltergeist at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Luckily, the rescue crews were on hand to save the day. They rescued the lucky 20 by around 3:15 p.m., after the ride had been on for some time. Poltergeist is a 2,700 foot long roller coaster in the Rockville section of the park.
The ride boasts four inversions, including a sidewinder, a cobra roll and a corkscrew. During the ride, riders get launched from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. The aforementioned sidewinder stretches along the length of the track and is accompanied by a number of acrobatic maneuvers.
Whenever you’re on a roller coaster, it’s easy to think that you’re in a loop-the-loop upside-down design. However, the reality is that a roller coaster is not an isolated system. Whenever the coaster is in motion, it’s constantly shifting between potential energy and kinetic energy.
The difference in velocity between the coaster car and the air creates aerodynamic drag. This drag forces the coaster train to slow down. It also causes kinetic energy to be lost.
Several other factors affect the roller coaster’s operation, but they play a much smaller role than aerodynamic drag. These include air resistance, air drag, and friction. If the air resistance is high, it will cause the coaster train to slow down. If the air drag is low, the coaster will speed up.
Guests at Carowinds in Charlotte, NC recently got stuck on a roller coaster. According to reports, the ride was stuck for nearly an hour. Luckily for them, Carowinds management provided them with fast pass vouchers to get them back on track.
For some, the experience of mounting and descending a swirling track at high speeds can be enough to turn their stomachs into mush. For others, the experience of being stuck upside down for the best part of an hour is a terrifying experience. While Carowinds management claims all rides are licensed and inspected daily, they have yet to provide any details about what exactly went wrong.
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