Posts tagged: Knoebels

By , January 20, 2013
Eric Wilcox

Hello GCII Fans!

My name is Eric Wilcox and I am GCII’s newest intern. I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. I was selected for an internship from the FREDxGCII event last July. The event is not only a great way to meet individuals in the industry but also those who share the same passion for roller coasters and amusement rides.

I spent my first day at GCII working with Dan and Colin unloading train parts and consolidating hardware into boxes for inventory. Any materials that are left over from rehab projects (such as Sky Princess at Dutch Wonderland) are sent back to Sunbury. Often times, the leftovers are pretty unorganized so it takes some times to sort all of the different bolts, nuts and other parts.

Not to long after, I was sent over to Jerry who oversees the Steel Structure department. My first task was to punch holes into Slab Anchor Angles which will be galvanized and sent down to Fun Spot in Orlando, FL. This task gave me the opportunity to use a Scotchman machine that I did not have experience using before. Josh, another employee who works with Jerry, showed me the basics on how to run the machine safely and efficiently. After only a few days, over 1000 units were ready to be galvanized (which is critical for White Lightning’s steel structure and its location in Florida).

Jerry also brought me along to help in the installation of a transfer table at Knoebels for their Flying Turns attraction. For those who do not know, the Flying Turns is an attempt at bringing back the Norman Bartlett Flying Turns from the 1920s-1930s. These intense rides were wooden bobsled style coasters (predating the steel varieties from Mack Rides and Intamin), where riders navigated helixs and tight turns. I am extremely excited about this ride and hope I will be able to ride it later this year.

Stay tuned for more of my experiences at GCII!


Knoebel’s and a Broken Computer

By , April 27, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey Guys,

First, let me apologize for the lack of a post last week.  My computer is less than operational right now, so it’s been difficult to get posts together.  Anyways, this post is sure to be chock full of goodies, starting with Knoebel’s and ending with a special shipment.

So, Knoebel’s opened this Saturday.  I was pretty excited about going, because I’ve never really experienced a small, family-owned park.  For the event, a couple members from my group at Ohio State came out.  We started the day out with ERT on Phoenix.  This was my first time on Phoenix, and it most definitely lived up to the hype; I couldn’t believe how awesome the ride was in the front seat!  The bumper cars were awesome too.  Couple Knoebel’s cool rides with amazing (and reasonably priced) food, and you have yourself an amazing park that I look forward to visiting again soon.

Now to business.  The first train for George and the Dragon has been shipped out.  It was cool to see how we package the cars in the container such that they don’t move around.  The cars are pristine and beautiful, and we wouldn’t want any scratches or dings in them, so we make sure to secure them in the container so they can’t move.  Things are still busy here getting the remaining three trains built up.

Well, that’s all for now.  If you’ve never been to Knoebel’s, I highly suggest you come visit them, because they have a great park!


By , January 8, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hi there, my name is Eamon, and I was recently hired as GCII’s new intern at their Sunbury, PA office. But before I talk about GCII, let me introduce myself. I am a student from the Ohio State University, and am heavily involved in the Theme Park Engineering Group. What we do is anything and everything related to the Theme Park industry. I personally am studying mechanical engineering, and therefore spend my time with design projects and exploring how the rides and coasters we all love work.

My GCII experience began with a trip out to Sunbury to meet, visit, and interview with the folks at GCII. (This trip was with the Theme Park Engineering Group in the fall) When we arrived, we met up with Chris to grab some dinner. After dinner, Chris invited us over to show us around his house and to give us a chance to get to know him and him a chance to meet us. If you’ve ever met Chris, you’ll know that he is quite the story teller, and from his stories I got a chance to see more of the personalities behind the people in the industry. I also learned that the job of ride design and construction entails more traveling than I had imagined it would. There might also have been a story about an epic party in Finland, but if you ever meet Chris I’ll let him tell the story. Also at Chris’s that night was Adam, a former intern who now works full-time. Adam offered insight on what it is like being an intern, and how to find things to do when living in Sunbury.

The next morning we arrived at the office to begin the interview process and the tour. We were graciously allowed to look over ride manuals, ride layouts, etc. and, as an engineer, I felt like a ten year old on Christmas morning. After the intern applicants (myself included) put together part of the locking mechanism on the Millennium Flyer train lap bar and were interviewed, Dan, who works in the shop assembling the trains, showed some of us around. He briefly explained any part we pointed out, and answered our questions about how the trains are built. I can honestly say that after seeing the parts and how they fit together, I had a pretty good idea on how to assemble a Millennium Flyer train.

After we finished up at GCII’s office, Chris offered to give us a tour of Knoebel’s, and, of course, we accepted. Personally it was very interesting visiting Knoebel’s, because I grew up near Cedar Point and have only been to corporate-run parks. It was cool to see a smaller park with a different layout that allowed free roaming; you could visit Knoebel’s and just hang out without paying any money. Also, seeing a park that interweaves with a forest was unique, especially when Chris informed us that at Knoebel’s they make it a point to avoid cutting trees down, even going so far as to let one tree grow through a ceiling! Of course it would have been more exciting if the park were open, but I’m sure now that I’m here for a while I’ll get plenty of chances to go.

My next experience with GCII was out at IAAPA in Vegas. I could talk a lot about that trip, but , as you know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when Chris offered me the job, but tried to keep myself calm because I knew I had a month before I would start. Now that I am here, I can offer a little more to you about how we design, fabricate, and construct the best wooden roller coasters in the world.

My first week began with the drive from northern Ohio to central Pennsylvania. When I left, Ohio had just gotten a few inches of snow, so it was slow going in most of Ohio. (To give you an idea, my average speed on the turnpike was around 50) Once in PA, however, the roads were a lot clearer. Upon arriving in PA, I met up with Chris at my new pad, and he gave me a bunch of awesome GCII swag: a hoodie, a hat, a bunch of t-shirts, and even some poster pictures of GCII rides to hang up (sadly those have to go back to the office when I leave). He then took me to the office to meet my “esteemed colleagues.”

In my first week of work, I helped Adam and Dan begin the process of bolting together the upper and lower chassis of the trains. This process involves making sure that the bolts can fit through the holes, putting washers and stop-nuts on, painting the bolts with an orange line and using a torque wrench to insure that the bolts don’t come loose. (The paint is there so that if a nut works itself loose, the paint is no longer in a straight line, and on-staff mechanics at a park can see this immediately and replace the nut and bolt to insure rider safety) I have also put together part of the lap bar device, and even managed to cut myself using a pneumatic ratchet. One of the most interesting things I have done so far is bending track steel. We had to do this for some of the guide-wheel track needed down at Dutch Wonderland. I also got to meet the guys in an area shop that machine some of our parts, and, having two CNC milling machines and a CNC lathe, I can say that they work in a mechanic’s heaven. (You’ll come to see that I love everything that ‘mechanical engineering’ entails.)

Well, that’s it for my first (and lengthy) post. You can look forward for updates on what I hope will be a weekly basis.


By , February 4, 2007
Evan Souliere

The past few days have been relatively eventful. Well, on Thursday and Friday, Adam and I worked on the lapbars some more and I ran some errands on Friday. That actually took up a good part of the afternoon because I had to go to our two farthest vendors (each about 40 minutes away and a half hour from each other).

Friday afternoon we cleaned the entire shop and office in preparation for this weekend. It was ACE’s Eastcoaster and it involved a tour of our office today.

But it began on Saturday when we drove to Northampton, PA, roughly two hours away. Chris made a presentation with updates on Renegade and Troy, as well as auctioning off some cool things from our place.

Adam and I also got to meet a lot of cool people interested in doing the exact same things as us. I have to admit, it was pretty cool talking with people who want to do this. I’m not used to it.

We were at Eastcoaster all day. It was the first one I’ve been to and I thought it was pretty cool. You can tell they put a lot into it, getting parks and manufacturers to come and talk. Afterward, we had dinner locally with Pete Owens from Dollywood, who is a really cool guy.

Today, was the tour at our office.We were there for several hours and I’d say roughly 40-50 people showed up, which was about what was expected. Adam and I got to show them around, giving as much information as we could on our trains. The word is out, by the way, that the two other trains we are building are, in fact, for Hershey’s Wildcat.

Knoebels followed, where roughly the same people who took our tour went on to see Flying Turns being constructed. They had it set up nicely for us, so we could see the trough in stages. The whole project is just wild; quite an undertaking and it’s going to be quite a ride when it is done. I hope it opens before I’m done here.

That’s pretty much it from this weekend. I’ve posted a few photos of these events, so you can check those out.

We’re supposed to get the chassis for the other train of Wildcat this week, so we hope to report more progress in the coming days. Stay tuned.


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