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Lightning Rod Status

Sadly, it seems there is still a need for a place to report the latest open/closed/sporadic operation status of Dollywood's Lightning Rod. This is a thread for anyone to report any heard or read news on LR's status, and of course to report first hand if you visit the park.
.......

I had thought all the problems had been left behind in last season, but it seems I was too optimistic. After running for most of this season, LR has been down for the last two weeks, and RMC has sent a team of technicians who are working on the ride.

I will be visiting the park in August and I am nervous that it will be closed or, even worse, that RMC will decide they're going to have to modify that launch, possibly slowing the ride down from now on. Someone please tell me I'm worrying too much.
 

CanobieFan

Active Member
From what I've gathered elsewhere, it's been down for at least the last 2 weeks non-stop. Looking pretty bleak for my second attempt to ride it at the end of this month... Oh well. At least I'll +1 on the new kiddie?
 
From what I've gathered elsewhere, it's been down for at least the last 2 weeks non-stop. Looking pretty bleak for my second attempt to ride it at the end of this month... Oh well. At least I'll +1 on the new kiddie?
What do you think about the possibility of them modifying the ride in a way that makes it more reliable but less intense? This is what I fear. Apparently, there's building momentum for the rumor that Dollywood may sue RMC for the cost of the maintenance, somewhat like the way SFMM sued Arrow over the problems with X. I guess I worry that the pressure of a threatened lawsuit with the possible added expenses (see what the lawsuit did to Arrow) may push RMC to take drastic measures to make LR more reliable.
 

Alaeriia

New Member
Wouldn't RMC redirect the lawsuit onto Irving Ondrey? They made the unreliable stators, after all.

It's a bit like the Texas Giant fiasco. RMC passed blame (rightfully) to their train subcontractor (Gerstlauer).

I think we might see the IOE stators replaced with InTraSys ones (which everyone else uses.)
 

davidm

Well-Known Member
Message currently on their website; http://www.dollywood.com/themepark/Rides/LightningRod
IMPORTANT NOTE: As Lightning Rod’s manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction, is working to improve the operational consistency of the ride and elevate its performance to Dollywood’s high standards, Lightning Rod’s running schedule will be irregular and subject to periodic closures. We apologize for any disappointment and inconvenience. Please enjoy Dollywood’s newest thrill, Drop Line or one of our other family attractions.
I spotted on TPR (sorry!) that there was someone who set up a website tracking the Dollywood wait times (presumably just by scraping the feed that supplies their wait times app/website thing here ; http://dw.dollywood.com/RWTimes/allRidesMob.html )
Anyway, the tracking site is here ; http://dw.jonstoddart.com/ and from that it only looks like its been open very briefly in the last few weeks (18th & 22nd May).
 
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Tomatron

Active Member
I missed out a couple of weeks ago, and now it sounds like it's gonna be hit or (mostly) miss for quite some time.

Whatever needs to be done, I'd give it another year before they can get it running consistently.
 
In a YouTubecomment section, one of LR's ride ops just said RMC is now in the midst of "major maintenance" so the ride will be closed "a bit longer."

Fwiw
 

Antinos

Slut for Spinners
Social Media Team
Wouldn't RMC redirect the lawsuit onto Irving Ondrey? They made the unreliable stators, after all.

It's a bit like the Texas Giant fiasco. RMC passed blame (rightfully) to their train subcontractor (Gerstlauer).

I think we might see the IOE stators replaced with InTraSys ones (which everyone else uses.)
Irvine Ondrey Engineering developed the control system for the ride, not the stators. Velocity Magnetics is responsible for the propulsion system.

Regardless, the issue is the closed loop control, NOT the hardware.
 

DelPiero

Well-Known Member
It had a good period when the park opened this year but the signs were there in April when it was down Monday-Friday then reopened for the weekend, it ran consistently during that time though, through full pelt rain and everything, but it closed Monday lunchtime, not sure if it reopened.
I didn't ask what the issues were, although one of the ops was very chatty, but it has trouble parking as well as whatever the major issue is.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
^Yeah, it very much sounded like they had issues with the entire closed-loop control system (as @Antinos has said above).

During the behind-the-scenes tour we had last year, Dollywood said the main reason for the downtime was inconsistencies in the launch speed, which in turn was causing the sensors to trip out and put the ride into E-stop.

That was basically stated as fact, however the next few sentences are my own interpretation of what was explained to us. I will happily stand corrected if a better source can refute this.

The sensors that control the launch are separate to the safety sensors, and when a mismatch occurs the ride shuts down. There is some issue in the launch controls which means the variance (the percentage over/under) in the speed of the train isn't being accounted for correctly by the safety sensors, and therefore the ride goes into E-stop. Their main issue seemed to be that they couldn't open up the deadband on the safety sensors enough to account for this (makes sense, you'd rather have false positives than false negatives on a system like this), however they also couldn't dial in the speed of the launch accurately enough. Why this is the case, is hard to say, but there are likely many factors (including train weight, wind, temperatures, etc) that mean a steep uphill launch like this will have a lot of fluctuation between runs. One would hope that with a sophisticated enough closed-loop control system they would be able to deal with this, but it sounded like that wasn't the case.

My honest opinion - whilst I'm not questioning the engineering know-how of the teams that worked on this, I think this project was possibly a little too ambitious for all parties involved without some sort of mock-up somewhere. I don't think the launch will be going anywhere (not even replaced by another launch system), but I think they've still got a fair amount of work left to do to get this right. I'd love to see the dirty details of all of the engineering and legal technicalities of this, but I suspect they'll remain pretty secret for a long time.
 

Alaeriia

New Member
Irvine Ondrey Engineering developed the control system for the ride, not the stators. Velocity Magnetics is responsible for the propulsion system.

Regardless, the issue is the closed loop control, NOT the hardware.
My bad. Either way, it seems like a case of subcontractor mismatch.
 

witchfinder

Member
I've been at Dollywood the last few days and the ride has been down the whole time. The first day nothing was happening, but it was raining a lot which probably explains that. The second day there were a few people looking at it, but today was the most notable as they had removed a piece of track on the brake run.

No idea why, but I do have pics which I'll try and upload.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Celebrating one year of my failed attempt to ride. :p
 

witchfinder

Member
So here are the pics I got while I was there, which seem to show a section of track missing, but in retrospect maybe this is just part of the transfer track? I'm not sure how they get trains on or off so I may have misunderstood what was going on there...

20170607_123444.jpg 20170607_125148.jpg
20170607_125202.jpg
 
Quick tangential request:

Can someone please point me in the direction of a great Lightning Rod video? I have told a friend about the ride, but now I want to show her a brief but well/professionally made video of it. Some POV is fine, but I especially want it to include offride shots of the launch, the steepest drop, and then that amazing compacted-looking shot of the quad from below. I know I've seen this kind of footage before, but I've scoured YouTube just now and can't find this sort of thing (it's all POVs or weak offride shots).

Thanks!
 

CanobieFan

Active Member
Can someone please point me in the direction of a great Lightning Rod video? I have told a friend about the ride, but now I want to show her a brief but well/professionally made video of it. Some POV is fine,

Internet suggests it's been open all day today (Friday 16th)
http://dw.jonstoddart.com/ride.php?ride=Lightning+Rod&day=2017-06-16
Rode it yesterday! Twice <3 got confirmation that it was indeed running.... And quickly made my way from North Carolina to Tennessee
 
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