American Eagle "STOP AT THE TOP!!"

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aejanis
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American Eagle "STOP AT THE TOP!!"

Post by aejanis » Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:15 am

Does anyone remember yelling at the AE Ride Ops to "Stop at the top...stop at the top"?!

I remember when the ride first opened, and for several years after, they would stop the lift right as the train reached the top of the hill. About 2 seconds later you would start again and head down the first drop.

At some point this "pause" at the top was gone, and didn't happen anymore. Howver, when with friends we would chant "stop at the top" and they would actually honor the request and "stop at the top!". That was the late 80's thru that very early 90's.

I move away from the Chicago area in 1992, and returned in 1997. I typically visit the park 2-3 times a year. During the 2004 season I was there with one of my friends and we recalled the "stop at the top" trick while in line. So we tired the chant "Stop at the top", and the ride ops obviously had no idea what we were talking about.

The "stop at the top" was a great feature on the ride at night.

Does anyone besides me and a few of my friends remember "stop at the top"?

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JW65
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Post by JW65 » Tue Aug 02, 2005 10:37 am

I don't remember calling out "stop at the top", but I do remember the coaster pausing at the top of the first drop. It was very exciting....I also remember riding the coaster backward on the track. It was a novelty for a while. I know they did this a lot for the 25th Anniversary in 2001. I also recall "races" between blue and red coasters on the separate tracks. But, that first big drop is amazing!

Jeff

aejanis
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Post by aejanis » Tue Aug 02, 2005 10:51 am

JW65 wrote:I don't remember calling out "stop at the top", but I do remember the coaster pausing at the top of the first drop. It was very exciting....I also remember riding the coaster backward on the track. It was a novelty for a while. I know they did this a lot for the 25th Anniversary in 2001. I also recall "races" between blue and red coasters on the separate tracks. But, that first big drop is amazing!

Jeff
For what it is worth....The blue train has been running backwards every season since 2003 (maybe even 2002). They re-tracked the first hill and the helix...so they are able to race them again (they stop racing do to stress on structure until it was referbed). 2004 was the first season where they launch at the same time to make them race...until then it had been first loaded was the first out of the station for at least 2-3 years prior.

Due to the heat I have not been this year, but I have heard they re-tracked and re-worked other parts of the ride during the off season this year.

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JW65
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Post by JW65 » Tue Aug 02, 2005 11:28 am

Gotta get back there for a race then! So, which train is faster, blue or red?

aejanis
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Post by aejanis » Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:29 pm

JW65 wrote:Gotta get back there for a race then! So, which train is faster, blue or red?
Red used to "win" all the time. Last year the blue (which is running backwards) would outpace the red on the lifthill by an entire train lenght. All last season it was too close to call at the end with the blue getting a head start...so Red (it would seem) is a little faster. However, as my ("") around win would indicate, you also have to factor in the blue has more track length through the helix (on the outside vs the inside of the turn), and has to cross-over the outward direction track coming out of the helix (to get to its side of the main drop for the return trip)...so I think the blue is at a disadvantage based on distance (although small) before the race even starts! ...then you need to figure in the weight of the people riding too....

Which one is faster?! Probably the blue one....which one wins the race (most of the time) red, but it might not be because of overall speed.

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m_force_4_ever
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Post by m_force_4_ever » Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:26 am

^well Blue's second helix has a much smaller diameter then Red's so that almost makes up for turning after the big helix.

timmy179
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Post by timmy179 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 12:40 pm

Image

In this picture you can see the brakes used when the ops in fact "stopped at the top" Contrary to what Ive heard, they did not use the lift chain to stop the train, I believe that would result in excessive chain wear.


I am almost positive that those breaks are not there today, I havent really paid much attention to that, but I will follow up on that.

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:25 pm

Nice photo. I thought about this a bit and was wondering how a ride opp would be able to do the ''Stop of the Top". There ususally is not much manual control allowed in a ride. I remember when I use to work on the Yankee Clipper, several people thought that I could control which flume drop the boat went down. Of course the ride alterated the boats on its own. Today only one drop is used. Not sure why that change was made.

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Post by timmy179 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:51 pm

I cheked... Breaks are stil lthere today onhe eagle but are not functional.


Using both drops on yankee clipper didnt really do much, didnt raise capacity that much.

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steven
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Post by steven » Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:16 pm

This article that Brian scanned refers to planned pauses at the top:
http://c-24-15-195-209.client.comcast.n ... 980-1.jpeg
I don't remember this being standard operation, though.

About Yankee Clipper and the use of both chutes, while using both of them increased the throughput some, it allowed for the potential of some safety problems. I don't know for sure if there was an event anywhere that triggered it, but I believe that all double-down chutes on flumes have been converted to the use of only a single chute.

With both chutes, there was a possibility of a collision of two boats at the point where the two flumes merged back into one. The potential for such a collision was real whenever two boats got into both chutes at the same time. The ride had a system to automatically shut itself down when this condition occurred. Basically, the gates at the tops of the chutes would close and hold both boats in place, not allowing either to drop. Mechanics from facilities would then have to come to manually release each boat and reset the ride. It didn't happen too often, but it was a hassle -- a hassle that's completely eliminated by closing off the second chute permanently.

Steven

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SFGAmLover
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Post by SFGAmLover » Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:22 pm

timmy179 wrote:I am almost positive that those brakes are not there today, I havent really paid much attention to that, but I will follow up on that.
The picture located here http://www.jvlnet.com/~drounds/AMEAGLE.JPG shows the original devices (I'm not yet convinced they technically were brakes). Notice the presence of the contact surface in the old picture... as well as the mechanical devices. All of that is gone today, of course, but I believe (as of my last ride) that the 'C'-shaped structures are still in place today.

So if these were brakes, how did they work? I figured that the coaster has only ever operated using the traditional fin brakes (and, of course, the booster wheels on the approach to the station).
WARNING: This message was composed on a computer in a household where peanuts and peanut products are served.

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BrianPlencner
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Post by BrianPlencner » Mon Aug 08, 2005 6:46 pm

Regarding the breaks at the top of the lift, I do know that in recent years, they have not been used. In fact, this past spring the park re-tracked the Blue lift hill, and in doing so, they removed the braces that were left up there. I feel that when the park does the Red side this fall, they will do the same thing.

I always thought they were there as an extra safety, when the ride would run 3 trains on each side.
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Demondude102110
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Post by Demondude102110 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:52 pm

This sounds like how the modern day wooden rollercoaster "Viper" at SFGAM always stops at the top.
Demon rules!

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twixmix0303
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Post by twixmix0303 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 9:47 pm

It probably acted similarly, but Viper stops at the top because of the way the lift was designed, not because of any brakes like American Eagle.

Nystagmus
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Post by Nystagmus » Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:26 am

Viper doesn't stop at the top of the lift hill. It just appearts that way. I used to work at it for about two years. What happened is when the train approached the lift, it went into "fast lift" mode where the chain sped up to get the train through faster. When the train was not on/approaching the lift hit, it went into the slower mode (basically energy saving). That same mode would kick in when the train reached the top, thus slowing down the train considerably; but never stopping it.

Had the lift actually stopped, the control panel would have let us know and the ride's computer would not be too thrilled. :D

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