Monday, March 3, 2014

Ravine Flyer II (Part 2 of 2): Flying Smoothly into 2014

A couple weeks ago we shared with you a peek into how we disassemble, inspect, and reassemble Ravine Flyer II's trains each winter to ensure they operate safely each summer.  While that is the perfect project to undertake in the warm maintenance shop during the harsh winter months, the milder fall season was the perfect opportunity to improve several stretches of Ravine Flyer II's track.  A common term used by experts to describe this improvement process is "re-tracking."
Check off another improvement on our 2014 Improvement Map!
I hope you remembered that safety harness and pair of climbing shoes, as we are about take advantage of a recent Winter thaw and explore our most recent re-tracking project performed on Ravine Flyer II.
Notice how the track looks brighter towards the bottom of the drop?  That's all fresh wood!  
Think of maintaining a wooden roller coaster as a process like maintaining the streets we drive on.  After a few years, the surface needs to be replaced due to the weather changes and heavy cars driving on it.  While Ravine Flyer II has not developed any "potholes," we believe that it is in the best interest of rider safety and comfort to repair high-stress sections of the track before they get a chance to become bumpy or uncomfortable. The adjustments performed on Ravine Flyer II account for the seasonal wear and tear caused by moisture, temperature changes, as well as the weight of the two 12,000 pound coaster trains.  Let's explore some other re-tracked sections!
A smoother 105' second drop.  Did you know that RFII's  two largest drops of 120' and 105' are larger than any other wooden coaster in the State of Pennsylvania?
Up over the lift hill for some smooth airtime.
A fast, smooth turn as we fly over L. Ruth Express.
One last smooth pop of airtime before our flight lands.
A smooth landing after a thrilling flight.

Phew! That was a walk! And that was just some of the many sections of re-tracking. An added benefit of re-tracking projects in the Fall of 2012 and Fall of 2013 is a slightly faster ride experience.  Engineers are always analyzing the coaster and making micro-adjustments to the banking of the track.  These adjustments allow the coaster trains to fly with more ease which reduces stress on the coaster's superstructure and in turn gives a slight speed increase.
While it not may look very significant (the middle bolt was moved), this is a very crucial adjustment to the track banking to reduce stress on the coaster structure.
If you thought Ravine Flyer II was smoother than ever in 2013, wait until 2014!  Test rides in this past Fall yielded some rave reviews of the already impressive, world-renowned roller coaster.  We can't wait for all of you to try it out for yourselves!  Whoever said all wooden coasters are rough?
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