A Farewell to Sunbury

By , August 10, 2018
Jack Ballard

After a long and fun summer, it has unfortunately come time for me to say goodbye to Great Coasters. It’s sad to leave, but, as they say, tis better to have coasted and braked than to never have coasted at all. I’ve made a lot of friends, told a lot of jokes (although people only laughed at some), lifted a lot of steel beams, and drawn stamp labels on a lot of parts, and it’s been a fantastic experience. Here are some of my favorite projects I have worked on over this summer.

Inventory: Sure, counting endless amounts of train parts doesn’t seem all that glamorous right? But after a while I realized that meticulously counting every single Millennium Flyer part was a great way to learn what makes these trains roll (and coast). This also required careful planning and documentation, both of which are important skills in the engineering world. Finally, creating an inventory tracking spreadsheet that updated with the arrival of part orders and departure of shipments was a great way to bring this project full circle, and will hopefully ensure that in the future, extensive inventory will not need to be taken again.


My good friends Chay and Krish inventorying it up

FredX: Helping the engineers facilitate GCI’s biannual outreach event, FredX was a fantastic way to meet fellow roller coaster nerds and budding roller coaster engineers like myself. Every attendee had a unique story, skillset, and favorite GCI to share (team Thunderhead all the way). After the events at the office, we all went to Knoebels to nerd out together on a backstage tour of the Phoenix and Flying Turns. I’m looking forward to crossing paths with many of these people again in the future.


All the Purdue Peeps at FredX

Bent Tracking: One of the most impactful things I was able to do this summer was make a spreadsheet that tracked the progress of bent manufacturing for one of our new rides. For those who don’t know, a bent is a cross section of complete structure perpendicular to the direction of travel. Bents are used to categorize the different sections of a ride and organize support beams for that section. This sheet organized all the individual support pieces into their respective bent and sorted by the type of piece, whether it be a batter, post, or whatever. This sheet was also able to catch errors in individual parts and was much more fun to use than my original strategy of meticulously going through each individual piece.

Just like anything in life, this internship had its ups and downs, its airtime moments and mid-course brake runs, but overall, my time at Great Coasters has been wonderful. I’ll miss everyone, but leave hopeful that we will all cross paths again sometime soon. Until next time.


Jack Sig

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