by Danny Miller
As many of you know, I have formerly been a ride operator at Dorney Park on several rides during the past few seasons. Less of you will also know that I am currently a fourth year mechanical engineering student in college (not a senior, it’s a five-year program). Combine the two, you get the small hope of maybe one day becoming an engineer in the industry, but due to the small amount of opportunity, I have learned to do engineering because I love engineering, not because I love roller coasters.
I have already done two very successful co-operative experiences at major, non-amusement industry companies, and plan to return to one of them for my final co-op session next summer. I was previously in product development engineering at Fisher-Price (yes the toy company), designing motion systems for products that will be released in the coming months. I then worked at Moog, Inc., a company that mainly creates actuators and servo valves for major aerospace corporations like Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed-Martin, and others.
Now back on campus for classes, I am preparing for Senior Design in a class called Design Project Leadership. In this class, we work on the very beginning stages of the design process, forming the problem statements, design constraints, and meeting customer needs. If successful, we can continue with the project in Senior Design.
With all of the discussion about ride safety and comfort with regards to restraints recently, I figured it would be the perfect time to pursue creating a new, more comfortable restraint that may or may not borrow characteristics from existing systems. The goal will be to create a restraint that is safe, comfortable, cost-effective, easy to maintain, and also accommodating to a wide variety of riders with physical and/or mental disabilities.
To do this, I have already contacted several folks within the industry, from riders and enthusiasts, to companies like Great Coasters International. What I would like from you, the readers here on COASTER-net, are your answers to help make this project as successful as possible. What do you like about roller coaster restraints? What do you dislike? What are some of you favorite and least favorite design? What would your ideal restraint be like? If you worked at a park and were involved with rides, what about restraints affects your everyday job?
There are several other questions that I am looking for answers to from so many people, and this is your chance to be a part of a design that may one day be on a new ride. Head to the forum topic hereand let me know what you think and help with the beginning phases of my roller coaster restraint design. Maybe one day, it’ll be my restraint that you helped design that is on one of your favorite coasters.