For the past 10 years, Top Thrill Dragster has
been giving millions and millions of riders a 17 second race for the sky at 120 MPH. But it takes a lot to keep Top Thrill Dragster running
so we go behind the scenes to see what keeps this ride in tip top shape! It’s one of the very few rocket
coasters in the United States. It launches you from 0 to 120 MPH using a launch technology similar to what’s on an aircraft
carrier. There’s a catapult system with a winch, powered by hydraulic motors, that stores a lot of energy to get you going very fast very quickly.
It’s an extremely complicated system of sensors, wheels, cables, and one big motor. every 45 seconds Top Thrill dragster is
ready to launch it all starts here in this room. Tanks called accumulators
fill up with hydraulic oil while nitrogen acts as a spring. A piston separates the oil from the
nitrogen. When the launch button is pressed the
sequence starts and the nitrogen pushes a piston that in turn pushes hydraulic
oil into motors. Those motors turn a drum, which reels in the cable, which is
attached to the catch car, which attaches to the train, and launches you at 120 MPH.
Got it? People always ask us why the right shuts
down frequently. That has to do with the thousands of
components on the ride. Each one of those mechanical and electrical
components has a failure life. It’s going to go
bad at some point. There are so many components in the system that we
have to keep on top of. and we have gotten a lot better at doing
that in the last five…six…seven years than we
were when we originally got the ride. It was new to us,
we never had anything like this before. And now we have it under control.
We have it on a leash. Before you even get to the park, in fact, while you’re sleeping our team is
working to get the ride up and running. Every morning behind me
they spend most of the night, in fact we have a third shift at night
that comes here at 11 starts doing any preventive maintenance on
the the trains behind me. That takes 5-6 hours to go through all those trains
and they spend another couple hours going through to track, the brakes, looking at the kicker wheels, possibly
replacing tires which moved around the track, doing a visual inspection all
the electrical switches. It takes one guy all night to inspect this ride.
Once maintenance is given their OK, the ride crew steps in. We’re responsible
for all the opening procedures in the morning transfering all of the ride
units on. Assigning crew positions, cleaning duties, as team leaders we run ride all day
long. We are essentially the supervisors at the location. Responsible for rotations,
responding to mechanical down time, everything to do with the ride, we
immediately report to our supervisors, but we’re responsible on location.
The crew will transfer all the trains on, clean each one, cycle them empty to make
sure all systems are functioning, and then they test ride each train. Dragster is a very complicated ride.
It takes a lot of people, a lot of departments working
together to keep it open and running every day.
What’s the best part of Chris’s job? It’s just the people that come here you
know? They come to ride Dragster. The faces when they get off,
the faces before they’re about to launch. The crew training the crew. Altogether it’s been one of the best experiences
I’ve ever had. And if you think the world’s first strata coaster is going
anywhere, think again! I’m pretty sure Top Thrill Dragster
being one of the preimere rides here pretty sure we’re gonna do anything we
can to keep it going for another 10…15…20 years.
What would you say to somebody who’s never ridden Dragster before that’s kind of on the fence? Arms down, head back,
and hold on! Let’s go! Come on! You Can do it! Yeah!