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#1
Old 12-03-2009, 10:51 PM
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What exactly do ride operators at theme parks do?

I know they tell the ride when to stop and go, and a few other things based on the number of buttons they have on their control panel. If they just abandoned their post could any real danger result? Aren't roller coasters designed to be as safe as possible, even if someone is asleep at the wheel so to say?
#2
Old 12-03-2009, 11:03 PM
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Some of them also regulate the pace at which people get on or off a ride, make sure that the ride isn't overloaded with people, and ensure that they're properly buckled or strapped in. If an operator abandoned her post and there was a malfunction, there might be a dangerous delay before someone else figured out how to turn the ride off. It's not a terribly demanding job - which is why it's usually filled by teenagers being paid minimum wage - but somebody's got to do it.
#3
Old 12-03-2009, 11:27 PM
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According to friends who have done this work at a local amusement park, a big function of the operators was to be a defense against lawsuits.

The rides are fairly automated, and could have been completely automated if they had wanted. For example, the roller coasters have a button to start the cycle, but it automatically ends on its own when it gets back to the starting point, even if the operator had fallen asleep. The heights & curves are designed to only reach a certain speed, but there are also 'inhibitors' built into the track to slow the coaster down if it somehow exceeds the designed speed at that point.

Most of the operators work is to see that people are seated properly, buckled in, etc. and to repeat to each load of people "Don't stand up. Don't stick your arms out the sides. Don't exit until the ride comes to a complete halt." and similar safety stuff (which is already posted on big signs.

And they have a 'safety briefing' every morning, where a supervisor reminds them of these safety precautions, and talks about any recent problems that have been noticed around the park. And once a week they had a separate 'safety training session' of 30-45 minutes where they go over safety rules, actions in case of a malfunction, procedures for summoning emergency medical help, etc. Attendance was required & recorded, and they had regular tests (usually things like recite one of those emergency procedures from memory), with a Pass/Fail grade recorded. Fails got you a short remedial training session before you could go to work. And too many fails got you demoted to the dreaded clean-up-vomit-and-spilled-food-around-the-park job. A real incentive not to fail!

This training & testing seemed to be intended both for safety, but also as defenses to be raised in court against any lawsuit. Especially noticeable in the way they carefully kept records of this, ready to show in court.

Last edited by [email protected]; 12-03-2009 at 11:29 PM.
#4
Old 12-04-2009, 12:22 AM
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I worked as a ride operator for several summers. It was a small, local kiddie park (11 rides total on a couple of acres of land), not a theme park, so your ridage may vary. For most of the rides (carousel-type things with cars/boats/rockets/whatever rotating around a hub), the controls consisted of a switch and a foot-pedal: Both had to be turned on for the ride to run, and while it wasn't running, both were supposed to be turned off. After the pedal was held down for a set amount of time (three minutes, I think it was), the ride would turn off automatically, and wouldn't turn back on again until you took your foot off and back on (on a slow day and with well-behaved kids, I occasionally stepped off and back on halfway through to give the kids a longer ride).

There was also a set of kid-powered crank cars, that I didn't have to do much of anything for; a train; a couple of electric-car-on-tracks rides; and a roller coaster. On the train, I controlled the throttle (too fast, and it could derail on a curve; too slow, and it wouldn't make it up the hill), tooted the horn and/or rang the bell while approaching intersections, and put on the brakes at the end to stop it in the station. For the track-car rides, there was a master switch that controlled the bulk of the track that stayed on pretty much all the time, plus three buttons that controlled sections of track in the loading/unloading area (so you could start the cars one at a time so as to leave space between them). For the roller coaster, the only control was a brake: The station area was tilted slightly downhill, so if you let off the brake, the train would roll down to a little dip and up onto the chain hill. We were supposed to finesse it so that the lead car would catch the chain, but with a minimum of clanking (which put wear on the ratchets). Occasionally, when the coaster was front-heavy, it wouldn't quite make it, and you'd need to give a good push on the back car. Stopping it at the end of the ride used the same brake: It wasn't automated at all (but like I said, this was a small park, and it was a very old roller coaster). There was also a small Ferris wheel, which had controls similar to the carousel rides, but it had to be loaded carefully or it'd get off-balance and wouldn't run: You'd load the cars in order 1, 2, 4, 5, 3, 6 for a full ride, and varied the number of kids per car based on how big they were.

As for what I actually did: I would open up the gate to the ride, let kids in until it filled up, and take tickets from each of them (the park itself didn't charge admission, but each ride cost a ticket). I'd make sure everyone was buckled in, give a short safety speech, flip the switch, and step on the pedal. While the ride was running, I watched to make sure nobody was doing anything unsafe (grabbing at things outside the ride, climbing out of their seats, etc.), and if someone did, or if a kid was crying, I'd stop the ride and take that kid off (we refunded tickets for kids who had to be taken off a ride). At the end of the ride, I'd step off the pedal, turn off the switch, and help any kids who needed help getting out (about half of them), then let them out a different gate, and open the gate for the next batch.

We didn't get safety briefings every day or even every week; you'd get a full day of training when you started, and a refresher at the start of each season if you came back (there was high turnover, since it was mostly kids on summer jobs). But we never had any ride-related injuries in 50-some years of the park being open, so it must have been enough. We did, however, hear about injuries on other similar rides at other parks and fairs.
#5
Old 12-04-2009, 08:48 AM
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Do they have emergency switches to shut them down if there is a problem?
#6
Old 12-04-2009, 10:04 AM
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And clean up puke too.
#7
Old 12-04-2009, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
According to friends who have done this work at a local amusement park, a big function of the operators was to be a defense against lawsuits.

And they have a 'safety briefing' every morning, where a supervisor reminds them of these safety precautions, and talks about any recent problems that have been noticed around the park. And once a week they had a separate 'safety training session' of 30-45 minutes where they go over safety rules, actions in case of a malfunction, procedures for summoning emergency medical help, etc. Attendance was required & recorded, and they had regular tests (usually things like recite one of those emergency procedures from memory), with a Pass/Fail grade recorded. Fails got you a short remedial training session before you could go to work. And too many fails got you demoted to the dreaded clean-up-vomit-and-spilled-food-around-the-park job. A real incentive not to fail!

This training & testing seemed to be intended both for safety, but also as defenses to be raised in court against any lawsuit. Especially noticeable in the way they carefully kept records of this, ready to show in court.
I'm going to mini-hijack and mini-rant here.

What you see as "defense of lawsuits" is routine stuff that any conscientious person [here, the theme park] ought to do when operating a thing that subjects the human body to serious danger if not properly run.

It's kind of sad and annoying when people lump this into some "we're just doing this so we don't get sued by parasitic lawyers" category as a knee-jerk reaction to being spoon-fed a mouthful of crapola from those who can profit from being less caring about others in society.

Last edited by Rumor_Watkins; 12-04-2009 at 10:16 AM.
#8
Old 12-04-2009, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
I'm going to mini-hijack and mini-rant here.

What you see as "defense of lawsuits" is routine stuff that any conscientious person [here, the theme park] ought to do when operating a thing that subjects the human body to serious danger if not properly run.

It's kind of sad and annoying when people lump this into some "we're just doing this so we don't get sued by parasitic lawyers" category as a knee-jerk reaction to being spoon-fed a mouthful of crapola from those who can profit from being less caring about others in society.
Well, your rant is mis-directed.

You did see that I said this was intended for safety first, then said also as defenses for lawsuits?

I see no problem with the park doing this, and approve it. In fact, I disagreed with my teenage friend when he was complaining about "this boring training" that they had "over & over again" -- I told him I think it contributes to the good safety record at this park.

(To rant about parasitic lawyers, we'd have to go to the Pit. Might be fun, though.)
#9
Old 12-04-2009, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Do they have emergency switches to shut them down if there is a problem?
Generally, yes. But usually only available to the operators, not passengers. (Too risky to have it open for any rider to force an emergency stop.) Some rides have a panic button for riders, which just alerts the operator, who can stop the ride.

But some rides, like roller coasters are only powered up the first hill; after that they 'coast' the rest of the way. There isn't much an emergency switch can do after they ascend the first hill.
#10
Old 12-04-2009, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Generally, yes. But usually only available to the operators, not passengers. (Too risky to have it open for any rider to force an emergency stop.) Some rides have a panic button for riders, which just alerts the operator, who can stop the ride.

But some rides, like roller coasters are only powered up the first hill; after that they 'coast' the rest of the way. There isn't much an emergency switch can do after they ascend the first hill.
Some roller coasters do have automatic friction brakes on the tracks at various intervals, in case the timing gets messed up and two trains get too close together. Generally these are at the top of a hill so the train can start moving down the other side again when the brakes are released.
#11
Old 12-04-2009, 02:36 PM
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I always thought they ogled teenaged girls and sold pot. But maybe that's just the local fairs.
#12
Old 12-04-2009, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Do they have emergency switches to shut them down if there is a problem?
That's why the rides at the park I was at had foot-pedals. If I saw something that needed to be tended to now, like a kid climbing out of one of the boats and falling in the water or clothing catching on something outside the ride or whatever, I could just run straight over and while I was running, the ride would be stopping.
#13
Old 12-04-2009, 02:47 PM
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Former Six Flags Employee

I worked at the Dallas location, in Spain (Teacups, Swinging Ship, Bobsled) and was additionally trained at two other rides in the same general area of the park for the convenience of getting break times worked out when we were short (carousel and spinning hat).

Bobsled was the big ride of the section - most complicated. The ride was divided up into a series of blocks (lift pt 1, lift pt 2, lift -> brake 1, brake 1 -> 2, brake 3 -> 4, brake 4 -> station, station [only block that cold hold multiple cars]), and the ride computer kept them out of each other on a fail safe system. Each friction brake would be in the up (stopping position) until it confirmed that the car ahead was out of the next block, so that there were two brake stations between cars at all times. If a car stopped out on the ride because of a computer fault, the head operator could tell the computer to double check where the cars were and restart progress if one stopped at a brake station for under 15 seconds. If it took longer than that, somebody had to go running and do a tandem reset of the cars from the brake station (which meant grabbing the keys, sprinting into the back area, then climbing 40 feet of ladders with a smile). In station there were two loaders, and a head operator - loaders controlled the doors and made sure that people seated properly and that the restraints weren't too tight (very loose on this ride - two people front to back). The biggest problem was probably getting people (especially 2 guys) to sit straddling each other in order to maximize throughput when lines were long. Also in charge of making sure people left their bags in the station, as they could fall out onto the track and cause problems - huge problem for some people, and I got called not very nice names several times for enforcing policies here: you can hold onto the bag and wait behind the exit gate or you can leave it on dock or ride. The operator controlled the microphone to talk rules and help alleviate boredom, reset the restraints if there were problems, call the boss for trouble, stop the ride if there were issues (most common was people getting out of seats on lift hill) and start the cars in tandem with loaders. It broke once while I was loading and it was minor enough (drive wheel just below chain lift broke) that I just let the cars come back into station before shutting down the ride.

Swinging ship was a 2 person job - loader and operator. Five to a row, don't split the bar, stay seated at all times. Pretty simple - loader let in people, then shut the gate, operator got everyone to leave stuff in the boxes, somebody locked it up, then both checked the restraints on their half of the ship. Both got into the safe zones and activated together. Loader had ability to do a slow ride stop (generally for somebody standing), while operator could do a slow or emergency stop (something broke or people breached the restricted area around ride).

Cups, carousel, and hat were all one person rides. One person loaded and unloaded, checked locks and started ride by themselves. A key was needed to start the ride (magnetic or actual turn key), and the operator needed to physically remain in place at all time to keep a switch activated (foot pedal, touch sensor that worked on hand capacitance I think, and a proximity sensor based on body heat I think - not sure about that last one). Cameras were used to keep eye on backside of ride.



Not a great job, but not bad either.
#14
Old 12-04-2009, 03:09 PM
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I used to be a ride operator. The answer is it depends on the ride. As a general rule, the more basic the ride is, the more user-dependent the controls are. So for say, a simplistic rotating ride, the ride op may control the sequence of the ride (the starting/stopping, the speed, etc.). For a complex roller coaster, basically the computer takes care of all the blocking (ensuring one train is in one section of track at a time to prevent collisions) and only requires the ride operators to hit the dispatch button.

Since they're the most interesting, I'll limit the list of responsibilities for a roller coaster ride op:
  • Ensuring guests are the correct height
  • Assisting in loading/unloading
  • Checking lapbars/restraints
  • Dispatching/bringing in the train, as well as operating the gates
  • Responding to mechanical/medical issues

Every ride also has a huge red button on the control panel labeled "E-stop." Ironically, it was not only the easiest button to accidentally hit (or a guest hit), but also the button that causes the most problems. After a e-stop is hit, supervisors and mechanics must go to the ride and do a bunch of resets. It's a huge ordeal/hassle if you didn't mean to hit the button. Basically the e-stop will stop a train at its next brake section (called a block brake), or stop trains if they're on the lift hill still.
#15
Old 01-01-2011, 05:14 PM
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I have been a ride operator at a traveling amusement park that goes to 10 states in 9 1/2 months. My job duties range from ride to ride. On "kiddie rides", you have one of the biggest jobs of the whole park. While operating a kiddie ride, you have to constantly be looking at the whole ride because of little kids standing up, etc. On a major or thrill ride, you have to pay attention very well also because as a major ride is bigger, that means if trouble occurs while the ride is operating, it can be a lot worse accident. I will just say that in the past 50 years, we have NEVER had 1 accident, not even minor. We have 5-7 certified ride inspectors at every spot, and managment is always out checking and ensuring the safety of everything at that spot. This is a very demanding job, but pays pretty well. All rides in our company have at least 3-5 things to run at once, and major rides have 5-10. Some rides may have controls to "put the floor down, spin pendulem on the deck, shoot up into air, spin, back to bottom floor, spin, up in the air again, etc. this is all on one ride and the procedures are the same for every time you run it. What we stay in are called bunkhouses. They basically are a really small room with a bed, and maybe some shelves, depending on what kind of bunkhouse. Each trailer houses 10 people, 5 on each side, with a shower on each side, too. This traveling job is really cool because we get to travel. I would have never seen places that i have if i wouldn't have went to work for the company. I love it and probably won't change in at least the next 10 years!!
#16
Old 01-01-2011, 06:37 PM
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This would be an example of the importance of operator doing everything when it's supposed to happen. I also feel the ride should have had safety switches to prevent to girl dropping until the net was in place regardless of the operator.
#17
Old 01-01-2011, 06:45 PM
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Another example of what can go wrong.
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#18
Old 01-01-2011, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Most of the operators work is to see that people are seated properly, buckled in, etc. and to repeat to each load of people "Don't stand up. Don't stick your arms out the sides. Don't exit until the ride comes to a complete halt." and similar safety stuff (which is already posted on big signs.
An operator who failed at this almost killed me once. It was one of those roller coasters with formed butt seats (including a little upward post in the middle), and I have always had a wide butt, even when I wasn't overweight. I couldn't quite fit with that upward post in the way, so the safety arm couldn't quite latch. Before I could tell them what was happening, the ride started. I unfortunately frozerather than screaming out, but luckily my friends noticed and screamed at them to stop, and the operators fortunately listened.

What surprises me is that, at that time, I was not so shaken up that I couldn't try any of the other coasters.
#19
Old 01-01-2011, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I worked as a ride operator for several summers. It was a small, local kiddie park (11 rides total on a couple of acres of land), not a theme park, so your ridage may vary. For most of the rides (carousel-type things with cars/boats/rockets/whatever rotating around a hub), the controls consisted of a switch and a foot-pedal: Both had to be turned on for the ride to run, and while it wasn't running, both were supposed to be turned off. After the pedal was held down for a set amount of time (three minutes, I think it was), the ride would turn off automatically, and wouldn't turn back on again until you took your foot off and back on (on a slow day and with well-behaved kids, I occasionally stepped off and back on halfway through to give the kids a longer ride).

There was also a set of kid-powered crank cars, that I didn't have to do much of anything for; a train; a couple of electric-car-on-tracks rides; and a roller coaster. On the train, I controlled the throttle (too fast, and it could derail on a curve; too slow, and it wouldn't make it up the hill), tooted the horn and/or rang the bell while approaching intersections, and put on the brakes at the end to stop it in the station. For the track-car rides, there was a master switch that controlled the bulk of the track that stayed on pretty much all the time, plus three buttons that controlled sections of track in the loading/unloading area (so you could start the cars one at a time so as to leave space between them). For the roller coaster, the only control was a brake: The station area was tilted slightly downhill, so if you let off the brake, the train would roll down to a little dip and up onto the chain hill. We were supposed to finesse it so that the lead car would catch the chain, but with a minimum of clanking (which put wear on the ratchets). Occasionally, when the coaster was front-heavy, it wouldn't quite make it, and you'd need to give a good push on the back car. Stopping it at the end of the ride used the same brake: It wasn't automated at all (but like I said, this was a small park, and it was a very old roller coaster). There was also a small Ferris wheel, which had controls similar to the carousel rides, but it had to be loaded carefully or it'd get off-balance and wouldn't run: You'd load the cars in order 1, 2, 4, 5, 3, 6 for a full ride, and varied the number of kids per car based on how big they were.

As for what I actually did: I would open up the gate to the ride, let kids in until it filled up, and take tickets from each of them (the park itself didn't charge admission, but each ride cost a ticket). I'd make sure everyone was buckled in, give a short safety speech, flip the switch, and step on the pedal. While the ride was running, I watched to make sure nobody was doing anything unsafe (grabbing at things outside the ride, climbing out of their seats, etc.), and if someone did, or if a kid was crying, I'd stop the ride and take that kid off (we refunded tickets for kids who had to be taken off a ride). At the end of the ride, I'd step off the pedal, turn off the switch, and help any kids who needed help getting out (about half of them), then let them out a different gate, and open the gate for the next batch.

We didn't get safety briefings every day or even every week; you'd get a full day of training when you started, and a refresher at the start of each season if you came back (there was high turnover, since it was mostly kids on summer jobs). But we never had any ride-related injuries in 50-some years of the park being open, so it must have been enough. We did, however, hear about injuries on other similar rides at other parks and fairs.
This matches my experience. Though there are some rides that required some skill, particularly the roller coasters. I don't know what the new ones are like, but the old wooden ones I operated had a big wooden hand brake. It took some skill to figure out how much force to use based on the load of the coaster. The idea, of course, was to have it stop smoothly, with no jerking. The bumper cars often required jockeying the cars between sessions and even helping people who got stuck in the middle of the ride. The toughest one was a really fast merry-go-round. Only a few people worked that ride in all my years, as it was VERY dangerous to move on and off the platform as it spun. But the guys who worked it did so beautifully.
#20
Old 01-01-2011, 10:52 PM
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It's weird when you read a zombie thread, not knowing it is one, and find your post from over a year ago.

Weird.
#21
Old 11-15-2011, 11:57 PM
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Hey guys! Sorry to bring up a dead topic but I was just reading around and found this really interesting. Last summer I actually worked on a roller coaster called "The Racer" which is located at Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio.

It was truly one of the best summers of my life. Not only was it fun operating the rides but you meet a thousand new people everyday and although it may get annoying spieling the rules over and over you do meet some awesome guests that just absolutly make your day. You also grow a strong bound with your work crew considering you do work with them every waking hour during the summer (atleast thats how it feels), they have become some of the greatest friends ever.

Heres some photos:
http://i41.tinypic.com/2n6zwgo.jpg
This is our ride (white), like the name says....it races. It's very large covering a ton of ground but isn't the tallest or fastest going about 88 feet up and reaching speeds of up to 61mph. In the roller coaster world this ride is one of the most historic, if it wasn't for the racer it's possible roller coasters wouldn't exist today.

http://i44.tinypic.com/15d9xn7.jpg
This is me "clearing a train"...you see this at EVERY amusement park in the world. Once all the operators see that all restraints are locked, the control operator is looking, and all guests and employees are in their designated "green zones" then you simply put your thumb up and say "clear." This alerts the control operator that the train is ready to be dispatched, the control operator will then say "all clear" and then it will be on it's way. Simple right? Doing it over and over can get really boring, you must make the best of it.

In the picture above you can see that I'm also talking on a microphone, we call it spieling. Its a HUGE part of what we do and if you're good at it can make the boring factor go down 99%. You use to not only to state safety rules but to have some fun...we ask guests how their ride was, tell them to enjoy it, and we also like to play games. It's a excellent way to interact with guests.

Now in terms of how to operate the ride it gets more complex. At all Cedar Fair parks (Cedar Point, Kings Island, Knotts Berry Farm, lots more...) Your are trained at specific levels. These levels range from 1-3 with 1 being the heighest, like most jobs you must prove yourself to be efficient in one level to move to another. Everyone starts on level 3.

Level 3
Level 3 is simple, but theres usually a ton to do especially if you're alone on the floor. In this position you have multiple tasks...you must look for kids that might be too short and measure them, check lap bars and seatbelts on your side, make sure all guests are behind the ride gates, let special needs guests in and save them seats, and you must be able to read park documents. While doing all this you must move the train out as fast and as safe as possible.
http://i40.tinypic.com/b46ip3.jpg

Level 2
Level 2 is alot like level 3 except all you do is check lap bars and press a simple green "dual button." This button is linked to the dispatch button on the control panel, if both buttons are pressed simultaneously then the train will go but if only one button is pressed while the other isn't then the train will stay at a halt. It's just a safety feature to prevent accidental start-up.
http://i42.tinypic.com/xat5ya.jpg
This picture was taken at The Beast roller coaster but The Racer has the same set-up. In this position you must also give a "high clear" instead of a simple low clear you use in the level 3 spot. The only difference is you lift your thumb above your head to let the control operator know that you're pressing in the dual button.

Level 1 a
Level 1 is in my opinion the best spot to work, and in order to get trained there you must show you know exactly what you're doing. In this spot you have full control over the operation of the ride such as opening/closing the gates, opening/closing the lap bars, starting and stopping the lift chain, bringing the train in from the specific blocks in the brake shed, ride capacity, starting a dispatch and E-Stopping if needed (but as said earlier it's a hassle if it's not needed and pressed). The computer practically does everything in terms of the block system, meaning we can't brake the ride ourselves-instead the computer does it for us.

We also have a computer screen that tells us exactly what the ride is doing and where the trains are. If theres a problem, a error message pops on the screen and tells us exactly what the problem is and where. The driver then must determine exactly what to do for the situation which can get so complicated I won't explain here, it involves tons of code numbers and names that you have to call in. This is what makes the spot so difficult.
http://i43.tinypic.com/25hmhb5.jpg
You can see here the control panel and the computer screen I was talking about.

Level 1 b
This isn't really a spot, it's more of an operation. In order to do this an associate has to be at least 18, why? I don't know really. But we do this every time the ride is powered back on either in the morning or after a long delay. Basically what this test is testing is the automatic block system and making sure no train bypass into sections they shouldn't. There has to be at least one block between each train so they don't bump into another...so how do we test this? Simply put we try and crash the trains, if they crash it fails, if they don't then it passes.


To my conclusion...working at a Amusement park is simply amazing, a perfect teenage job. Sure it only pays $7.40 an hour, but gaining the experience is well worth it and besides they give you PLENTY of hours (Every weekend in October I worked 9:15am to 1:am on Saturday, and 9:15 to 10:00pm on Sundays.)Yes, the job is demanding and it definitely puts your body through endurance standing in the heat for hours on end but the friends and people you'll meet is simply awesome. For anyone debating a amusement park job, go for it.

http://i39.tinypic.com/qsma75.jpg

Also, if you're thinking about Kings Island...the work environment is terrific. ALL the supervisors and higher ups have been nothing but helpful and nice, they down
right make Kings Island a truly one of a kind place.

If you have anymore questions just ask!
#22
Old 11-16-2011, 12:46 AM
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Welcome to the boards, rcfreak339! While it's not really a problem to zombify an old thread, especially if you're adding a bunch of extra information, you might want to start a new thread called something along the lines of "Ask the Roller Coaster Operator" in the In My Humble Opinion forum.
#23
Old 11-16-2011, 02:49 AM
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In answer to the OP, the brakes on coasters are called "dead-man braking systems," meaning if the operator would drop dead they would still work. The brakes are by default in the stopping position - they are only released when either the operator or automated system releases them. If power were to be lost, the brakes would return to the stopping position.

Last edited by Mr. Pink; 11-16-2011 at 02:51 AM.
#24
Old 11-16-2011, 05:00 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 41
To rcfreak339 - I didn't want to hijack you other thread but just thought I'd comment on your 1A and 1B. I was an operator at a west coast theme park about 20 years ago. Back then our park was transitioning to the computer screen system you are familiar with now. Imagine the lights and buttons on the original star trek show versus the touchscreens you see on modern star trek.

Our wooden coaster was manually operated in station. I don't remember the full details anymore, but it required two station operators manually operating the station blocks to dispatch and return the train. The switched to a more automated system while I was there.

For your 1B we had some rides that mandated an 18+ to operate. One was the cable car and the other was the gas powered cars. Those required physically catching or moving cabins or hopping on and off moving cars. Not much fun if you are the only major in a department full of minors. Meant you never got to rotate to the fun coaster positions due to staffing.
#25
Old 11-16-2011, 08:23 PM
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What about places like Luna Park in Melbourne, Australia? The operator actually has to stand on the roller coaster while it's moving. The ride is pretty tame, though. Looking at Wiki, it says the operator is a "brakesman".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_Park,_Melbourne
#26
Old 11-16-2011, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayarrell View Post
To rcfreak339 - I didn't want to hijack you other thread but just thought I'd comment on your 1A and 1B. I was an operator at a west coast theme park about 20 years ago. Back then our park was transitioning to the computer screen system you are familiar with now. Imagine the lights and buttons on the original star trek show versus the touchscreens you see on modern star trek.

Our wooden coaster was manually operated in station. I don't remember the full details anymore, but it required two station operators manually operating the station blocks to dispatch and return the train. The switched to a more automated system while I was there.

For your 1B we had some rides that mandated an 18+ to operate. One was the cable car and the other was the gas powered cars. Those required physically catching or moving cabins or hopping on and off moving cars. Not much fun if you are the only major in a department full of minors. Meant you never got to rotate to the fun coaster positions due to staffing.
Thats the same for Racer...back when the ride opened they used a mostly manual system to operate brakes and blocks. It looked more like this: http://kicentral.com/history/pho...(13June74).jpg
#27
Old 11-17-2011, 03:59 PM
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rcfreak339, were you cross-trained for the other coasters as well? Did you ever get to run the Beast (incidentally the best roller coaster in the world)?

The park I worked at, we only had one coaster, and it only had one train, which made things considerably simpler.
#28
Old 11-17-2011, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
rcfreak339, were you cross-trained for the other coasters as well? Did you ever get to run the Beast (incidentally the best roller coaster in the world)?

The park I worked at, we only had one coaster, and it only had one train, which made things considerably simpler.
I have been crossed trained at multiple rides...

-Firehawk
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_RGofOLadU2...rehawk_002.jpg

-Flight Deck
http://coasterimage.com/pictures...ightdeck01.jpg

-Diamondback
http://coaster-net.com/pics/pki/diam...enanderson.jpg

AND

-The Beast
http://britannica.com/coasters/i...ebirt005p4.jpg
The ride is pretty fun to work, I'm friends with a ton of workers there. Although, the ride isn't much different than The Racer considering it's the same type of ride.
#29
Old 12-20-2013, 01:19 PM
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I used to work on the Samurai when it was at chessington world of adventures (it's now at thorpe park) and we used to have do things like check safety bars, choose the program for the ride and cause we were allowed to run the ride how we wanted we had to pick how fast we wanted it to go. It's not a super easy job but its not really hard to do.
#30
Old 12-20-2013, 04:50 PM
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double zombie or no

smoke cigs.
#31
Old 12-16-2014, 01:42 AM
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It's interesting to see how different parks work. Where I work there are red badgers (14 and 15 year olds) and black badgers (16+).
Red Badgers work the first half of the day. When the red badgers are at work they are the ticket takers/attendants. They count people onto the ride, check hand stamps and height and help with checking lap bars. A lot of the rides also have an enable button that the attendants press to help start the ride. Next are the operators, anyone who is 16 and older.
Operators control the rides. They start the ride, help check lap bars if needed (most of the time they are), and when there isn't a red badger the operators work the attendant spot and ticket take. We usually rotate between ticket taking and operating with the other employee/s at the ride every half hour to an hour so we don't get bored. Most of the ride operators operate simple rides like teacups or samurai. There are only two roller coasters that most operators are allowed to operate.
Next are the crew members who are allowed to operate the big roller coasters and things like the slingshot and sky coaster. If someone is not on crew and works one of the crew rides then they are the attendant at that ride. The attendant for the crew rides can be both red badgers and black badgers. The crew members basically do everything that a regular operator would do excepts they don't have to worry about the line. They are also in charge of the morning checks for the roller coasters which are more complicated than other rides. They have to time the cars and check the breaks and lift. (Break checks are the best thing to help with).
Next are the Team Leads. Team Leads make sure cleaning supplies are at all the rides in their area, they help with staffing issues so they open and operate the ride while they wait for someone else to cover the rest of the shift. They also give breaks to their area supervisor who is scheduled for one of the crew rides.
There are about 4 supervisors per area. Depending on what they are scheduled for one supervisor is in charge of doing there checks for the rides. (checks are done for each ride three times a day, first by maintenance then by supervisors and last by operators). They also make sure each ride in there area closes on time. The supervisor who does the ride checks is the one that roves for that shift. They just walk around their area to make sure all the rides are running smoothly and that the operators are doing their jobs. The other supervisor working that shift operates the crew ride for there area. Supervisors and crew members can also rotate positions at the rides.
Next are the coordinators and managers who are trained on every ride on the park. They mostly walk around there area of the park making sure everything is running smoothly and everyone is doing there job. They also help supervisors when needed. If something is wrong with a ride and the supervisor can't fix it on their own a coordinator help them fix it. For example if a roller coaster train is stuck they help push it to get the ride going again or if a supervisor cannot clear a fault (alarm on the screen that will not allow a ride to start). When one of the big roller coasters is having problems coordinators are usually swarming the area.
I am only a regular operator for now so I guess compared to a Cedar fair park I would be somewhere in the middle of level 2 and 1a. I get to operate a whole bunch of rides but I don't do any thing with the breaks or lift hill or anything more complex then basic operation.
Most of the rides are timed and stop on there own there are some that slow down but then require a hand break to be pulled to completely stop it. There are also two stop buttons and a foot pedal that can stop the ride. Like a lot of people have said the E-Stop should only be pressed when there is an emergency or it does cause a lot of problems with the ride. The E- stop will stop the ride right away instead of slowly coming to a stop like a ride does when the cycle is finished. The ride stop button is less severe and stops the ride like it would at the end of the cycle excepts it stops before the end of the ride cycle and if someone released there foot from the foot pedal it would do the same thing the ride stop button would do. I think the foot pedal mostly acts as an operator present. If the operator is not on the foot pedal (not present) the ride will stop because someone should be present watching the ride. All of these will cause a fault on the screen and require a supervisor to clear it... except maybe the ride stop.
#32
Old 12-16-2014, 01:49 AM
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I also work the Samurai but unfortunately I do not get to control the speed or the program. We don't even do a test ride for all the programs because we will never run it in another program. We are only allowed to run it on the first program... but I get to control the rides music. That's cool I guess.
#33
Old 12-16-2014, 05:11 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 17,662
Graham Parker explains in Fairground, a great little known song by a largely forgotten rocker:

Well the girl who takes the tickets
For the ghost train around the back
Looks a lot like Courtney Love
You know a real class act
And I'll bet that that's her boyfriend
Who runs the Hoopla stand
Maybe he's a genius that no one understands
Maybe he's an inventor
Clever with his hands
Right now he's just small time
But he's got big plans
Or maybe he's just a shifty guy
That's got a violent streak
Maybe he's the one who murdered
That clown and and got away scott free

Let's go down to the fairground
Before it's up and gone
Get your tight blue jeans out
And try to get 'em on
Get 'em on
#34
Old 12-16-2014, 06:47 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
That's why the rides at the park I was at had foot-pedals. If I saw something that needed to be tended to now, like a kid climbing out of one of the boats and falling in the water or clothing catching on something outside the ride or whatever, I could just run straight over and while I was running, the ride would be stopping.
This sounds like the train drivers dead man switch.

If the operator is NOT there to hold it on, the emergency stop occurs...
Just as an side, since the concept is so similar.. I did work at a place that manufactured these train driver test boxes.. These days the train driver has to past a test, he has to press the switch on time.. And I think a small bit of an IQ/reaction time test, by changing which button has to be pressed. This is so that a passed out or dead driver does not simply hold the switch on and so a very sleepy driver might start failing the test.

Last edited by Isilder; 12-16-2014 at 06:50 AM.
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