Maybe a dumb question, but are the brakes on that thing an automatic system? As in there's no way to fail? I figure it's a reverse magnetic which brakes no matter what if the tower is on it's way to the ground? Why is there not a way to lower it without physically releasing it and dropping it, or is there? I mean I've never heard of one of these crashing to the ground, which is a good thing I guess.
You're correct, strycker. The breaks are fail-proof magnets that will work at any time, no matter when or where the carriage is dropped. In theory, if the ride broke down, they could simply drop the carriage without endangering the guests.
However, because of the way the computer system is designed, the ride cannot be dropped in normal operation mode if it faults. If the system faults for any reason (heavy wind detected, missed sensor, gate pushed open, etc.), maintenance has to take over operations. Usually this means a maintenance crew has to be dispatched from the maintenance center behind Shenandoah Lumber Co. (almost a 5 minute drive) to override the system and manually drop the carriage.
So, while the "stranded in the air" problem in theory be solved with just the push of a button by the operator, it typically takes much longer because maintenance has to come in.
I feel like pretty much every time I’ve been to the park this summer, Drop Tower has been down and the lift vehicle has been positioned at the top of tower. I think we’ve only seen it operational and gotten to ride it maybe once or twice.