Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Superman Sticks and Gold is Struck

Northern California has had some excitement over the last couple days, lets take a look into the headlines.

©Six Flags
Initially I refrained from posting this story because of the lack of details being reported, but now I feel the full story has emerged enough to provide a full picture.  Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's newest coaster, SUPERMAN Ultimate Flight, made news when it suffered an odd issue on Sunday causing the ride to a stop 150ft in the air.  Riders were stranded in an upright position at the highest point of the ride for nearly 2 hours.  The Vallejo Fire Department was called in to assist with a possible evacuation while maintenance crew used cranes to reach the passengers, providing them water and sunscreen, and to inspect the train.  After the ride was checked out, the coaster was moved in reverse down the tower and successfully unloaded in the station.

The ride has been shut down since the incident in order for the park to perform a full inspection to determine the cause.  Sources say that absolutely no mechanical issues were found and the ride appeared to be functioning as designed.  What seems to have happen was that the conditions were perfect an the ride merely lost it's momentum at the peak of the ride and balanced itself at the top.   

Though this is not very common, it's not unheard of.   Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point has found itself balanced at the top of its tower on multiple occasions throughout it's existence.  Generally those shut downs only require a mechanic to go up and push the ride over the top and then the ride resumes operation.   Because this was the first time it occurred on Superman, the park was extra careful not to put the ride in motion again before they were sure that it was safe to do so.

Next up,  California's Great America's Facebook page is now teasing their new upcoming wooden roller coaster.   The page's cover photo (seen below) features a gold miner with the words "Striking New Records" and gives the date of August 29th, which is likely the announcement date.   

© California's Great America
The banner also says "Au13." Au is the elemental symbol for gold and 13 is assumed to refer to the year the ride opens.   These clues seem to lead to the newly trademarked "Gold Striker" as the name for this new coaster.  The question now is what record will the ride be breaking?  My guess is they are keeping it local and touting this as the tallest, fastest and longest wooden coaster in Northern California.

Over at Theme Park Review, a photo was posted to show that the ride recently started vertical construction.  This will be the first major coaster installation at California's Great America since Stealth opened in 2000.