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A similar report in linked roller coasters and other thrill rides with potentially triggering abnormal heart conditions that could lead to death.

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One notable exception is a powered roller coaster. These rides, instead of being powered by gravity, use one or more motors in the cars to propel the trains along the course. If a continuous-circuit coaster does not have enough kinetic energy to completely travel the course after descending from its highest point as can happen with high winds or increased friction , the train can valley: The train will then come to a complete stop in the middle of the track.

This, however, works somewhat differently on a launched coaster. When a train launcher does not have enough potential energy to launch the train to the top of an incline, the train is said to roll back. In , NASA announced that it would build a system using principles similar to those of a roller coaster to help astronauts escape the Ares I launch pad in an emergency [15] , although this has since been scrapped along with the rest of the Ares program.

Many safety systems are implemented in roller coasters. One of these is the block system. Most large roller coasters have the ability to run two or more trains at once, and the block system prevents these trains from colliding. In this system, the track is divided into several sections, or blocks. Only one train at a time is permitted in each block. At the end of each block, there is a section of track where a train can be stopped if necessary either by preventing dispatch from the station, closing brakes, or stopping a lift.

Sensors at the end of each block detect when a train passes so that the computer running the ride is aware of which blocks are occupied. When the computer detects a train about to travel into an already occupied block, it uses whatever method is available to keep it from entering. The trains are fully automated. The above can cause a cascade effect when multiple trains become stopped at the end of each block. In order to prevent this problem, ride operators follow set procedures regarding when to release a newly loaded train from the station.

One common pattern, used on rides with two trains, is to do the following: Another key to safety is the control of the roller coaster's operating computers: A PLC detects faults associated with the mechanism and makes decisions to operate roller coaster elements e.

Periodic maintenance and inspection are required to verify structures and materials are within expected wear tolerances and are in sound working order. Sound operating procedures are also a key to safety. Roller coaster design requires a working knowledge of basic physics to avoid uncomfortable, even potentially fatal, strain to the rider. Ride designers must carefully ensure the accelerations experienced throughout the ride do not subject the human body to more than it can handle.

The human body needs time to detect changes in force in order to control muscle tension. Failure to take this into account can result in severe injuries such as whiplash.

Lateral accelerations are generally kept to a minimum by banking curves. The neck's inability to deal with high forces leads to lateral accelerations generally limited to under 1. Despite safety measures, accidents can, and do, occur. Thus in the US, California requires amusement parks to report any ride-related accident that requires an emergency room visit, while Florida exempts parks whose parent companies employ more than people from having to report any accidents at all.

Ride accidents can also be caused by riders themselves or ride operators not following safety directions properly, and, in extremely rare cases, riders can be injured by mechanical failures. In recent years, controversy has arisen about the safety of increasingly extreme rides.

There have been suggestions that these may be subjecting passengers to translational and rotational accelerations that may be capable of causing brain injuries. In the Brain Injury Association of America concluded in a report that "There is evidence that roller coaster rides pose a health risk to some people some of the time.

Equally evident is that the overwhelming majority of riders will suffer no ill effects. A similar report in linked roller coasters and other thrill rides with potentially triggering abnormal heart conditions that could lead to death.

Statistically, roller coasters are very safe compared to other activities. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that park guests required hospitalization in and that fatalities related to amusement rides average two per year.

According to a study commissioned by Six Flags, million people visited parks in The study concluded that a visitor has a one in one-and-a-half billion chance of being fatally injured, and that the injury rates for children's wagons, golf carts, and folding lawn chairs are higher than for amusement rides.

Roller coasters are divided into two main categories: Steel coasters have tubular steel tracks, and compared to wooden coasters, they are typically known for offering a smoother ride and their ability to turn riders upside-down. Wooden coasters have flat steel tracks, and are typically renowned for producing "air time" through the use of negative G-forces when reaching the crest of some hill elements.

Newer types of track, such as I-Box and Topper introduced by Rocky Mountain Construction , improve the ride experience on wooden coasters, lower maintenance costs, and add the ability to invert riders.

Modern roller coasters are constantly evolving to provide a variety of different experiences. More focus is being placed on the position of riders in relation to the overall experience. Traditionally, riders sit facing forward, but newer variations such as stand-up and flying models position the rider in different ways to change the experiences. A flying model, for example, is a suspended roller coaster where the riders lie facing forward and down with their chests and feet strapped in.

Other ways of enhancing the experience involve removing the floor beneath passengers riding above the track, as featured in floorless roller coasters. Also new track elements — usually types of inversions — are often introduced to provide entirely new experiences. Several height classifications have been used by parks and manufacturers in marketing their roller coasters, as well as enthusiasts within the industry. One classification, the kiddie coaster, is a roller coaster specifically designed for younger riders.

Following World War II, parks began pushing for more of them to be built in contrast to the height and age restrictions of standard designs at the time. Companies like Philadelphia Toboggan Company PTC developed scaled-down versions of their larger models to accommodate the demand. These typically featured lift hills smaller than 25 feet 7. Moonsault Scramble , which debuted at Fuji-Q Highland in , was the first to break this barrier, though the term hypercoaster was first coined by Cedar Point and Arrow Dynamics with the opening of Magnum XL in Riding Fahrenheit , located at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point is the first strata coaster ever built. Raptor , a steel inverted coaster, is located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. This all-wooden roller coaster, built in , dominates the Linnanmäki amusement park in Helsinki, Finland. Son of Beast in Kings Island was the only wooden coaster to have a vertical loop. The loop was removed in , and the ride was closed from until its demolition in Phoenix , built in , at Knoebles Grove in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.

It was relocated from San Antonio's Playland Park in Oblivion at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England. Griffon splashing down into a pool at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Great Bear is the first steel inverted coaster in Pennsylvania, located at Hersheypark. Black Mamba at Phantasialand , Germany.

Thunderbolt at Kennywood outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was built in Kingda Ka is the world's tallest roller coaster and is the second strata coaster in the world after Top Thrill Dragster.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Roller coaster disambiguation.

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