Posts tagged: White Lightning

By , June 14, 2013
Eric Wilcox

Hello everyone,

Today is my last day at Great Coasters International. While I am sad that my internship with the company is finished, I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to work inside the company. I have learned so much in the close to six months that I have been here and there is so much still to learn!

Since my last post, I have had the opportunity to visit the work site for White Lightning down in Orlando, FL. Dan and I traveled down to Florida the week before Memorial Day and assisted in the final steps to opening the ride. Having put in a lot of hours  in the shop fabricating all the structural components, it was great to see the entire coaster standing. Dan and I also got the chance to ride the coaster before it opened to the public which was extremely cool! Orlando residents should be proud that they have a great wooden coaster in their city. But the best part of the experience was getting the chance to watch the first guests enjoy the coaster that I had a part in making. It will be an experience I will never forget.

After returning from Fun Spot, Dan and I started taking inventory of all the hardware & parts that returned from the work sites in Florida & California. Every part had to be inventoried so we knew exactly how much was used on site. One might think this is an easy task but when multiple truckloads come back to shop all filled with brackets, bolts and more, it can become a time-consuming task.

Finally, Clair asked me to design higher load capactiy shelves for our pallets of hardware, track bolts and coil nails than the shelves currently used at the shop. It was a great opportunity to apply my engineering knowledge to something that will allow the company to be more efficient in day-to-day activities. Leftover steel structure from White Lightning will be used to construct my designs so if you ever visit our office in Sunbury, look for the white pallet racks!

I would like to thank Clair, Chris Gray, Jerry Long & everyone at GCII for providing the internship program to young individuals interested in the entering the amusement industry I have learned a lot about the industry through this experience and I know, now more than ever, that this is the industry I want to be a part of. It was a great experience and I will never forget it.

This is Eric Wilcox, signing off!

By , May 8, 2013
Eric Wilcox

It’s hard to believe that almost two months have passed since my last blog post. Time sure does fly by when you are working at GCII!

Since my last post, many things have happened here in Sunbury, PA. First and foremost, all the steel fabrication for White Lightning has been completed. All of the steel structure is standing down in Orlando and the ride looks incredible!  It can’t wait to ride the coaster in the near future.

With the fabrication completed, I transferred over to work with Dan on the trains for Fun Spot. A lot of my work focused around installing many of the smaller assemblies onto the coaches such as seat belts, control cables & lap bar can covers. Later on, I even had the chance to build one coach from the ground up (with the help of Dan and his expertise). While our Millennium Flyer trains may look complex to put together at first glance, our engineers have made the assembly procedure a quick & pain-free process. As of now both 6-coach trains are now either at the work site or in route.

I have also been taking advantage of the early park seasons to visit a few amusement parks including Knoebels, Dorney Park, King’s Dominion & Six Flags America. KD & SFA were new parks for me this year and I was excited to try out Roar which was the second coaster designed and built by GCII. I had a great time at all of these parks and I’m planning on visiting Hershey (my “home” park) real soon

Stay tuned for another blog entry and thanks for reading!

By , April 26, 2013
Colin Coon

Hello again everyone,

Long time no blog, but we have been very busy and very productive this last month as the opening of both Gold Striker and White Lightning quickly approaches.

As many of you have seen already, Gold Striker has been testing!  Below is a POV from the first run of Gold Striker if you haven’t seen it already yet.  According to Chris the ride is very fast and I have a feeling that it will be a great addition to the park.  I have to say it feels pretty awesome to see something you’ve worked on for the last half a year make it around the track like that.  Two functional trains under my belt so far, with two more to go!

Gold Striker POV

Trains for White Lightning have also been nearing completion and as I type this 90% of the first train is ready to go.  It should leave Sunbury sometime next week with the second train following shortly behind.  I feel a bit more attached to these trains since not only will they be nearby in Orlando, but also because of some design work that I helped with.  I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to see it when they show up in Orlando in the next few weeks!

Speaking of next week; next week will be my last week here in Sunbury.  I’m not going to say my goodbyes yet though, not until next time at least.  We still have two trains to push out the door, a bunch of spare parts to get together, and two weekends of Knoebels to take advantage of before I can even think about leaving!  Also if it all works out I hope to be around on-site in Florida for the initial startup of White Lightning

That’s where we sit for now, thanks for reading!

White Lightning Status Update

By , March 13, 2013
Eric Wilcox

To all,

Things have been extremely busy at GCII so I thought it would be a good time to give an update on White Lightning. Work is going well on the Fun Spot project both here at the shop and down on site. I believe that White Lightning will be a fantastic ride for Fun Spot and the Orlando area once completed.

For White Lightning, the first drop has been completed and some tracking has been started. Our guys sure know how to build a roller coaster in a short amount of time. For photos of the ride, be sure to check out GCII’s Facebook page.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to give my family a tour of GCII, to show them some of my work and the progress being made on the Gold Striker trains. It was great to be able to show my family what I do everyday and show them how the machines I use are operated.  Fortunately, the weather was perfect that weekend and we all had a great time

Check back soon for another blog post!


By , February 5, 2013
Eric Wilcox

To all of the GCII enthusiasts out there,

Things are extremely busy here at GCII and there are so many things to talk about.

First, I had the opportunity to visit a company that provides the powder coating for all the steel structural components for White Lightning. The plant manager, Rex, showed me around the facility, explaining the powder coating process that our parts were going through from beginning to end. It was a neat experience to see another step in the process that our parts make before being shipped down to Orlando. The ovens used to cure the parts are extremely hot which is nice in the winter months but brutal in the summer. During my visit, Rex and I talked about how this particular shipment was to be packaged so the parts arrived in pristine condition (things can get shuffled on a large truck/trailer setup).

Back at GCII, more posts, diagonals, and some kickbacks have been cut into length and are awaiting the addition of holes needed for assembly purposes. Every piece must be checked to be sure it is the correct length, square and properly tagged with its appropriate part number. Once all the secondary operations are completed they’ll be sent to the powder coater and then to the job site. If you ever want a good upper body work out, be sure to apply for an internship at GCII! You’ll feel muscles ache you didn’t even know you had!

Chris, Colin and I had the opportunity to go to East Coaster 2013, an ACE event held near Allentown, PA. Representatives from parks such as Dollywood, Knoebels, Cedar Point and others were present to present what they were doing for the 2013 season. Usually this means announcing new rides but it can also be updates to infrastructure around the park. Ride manufacturers such as own Chris Gray and PTC also presented their projects. During the breaks in the presentations, auctions are held and some members bring memorabilia to sell so there is always something going on. It was a great experience for me and I had the pleasure of meeting Pete Owens from Dollywood and Jeffrey Siebert from Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Stay tuned for another blog posting in the near future!

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!

Mid-way Recap!

By , October 22, 2012
Kevin Young

Hey everyone!

As I reach the midpoint of my internship here at GCII, I thought it might be a good idea to recap some of the things I’ve done and learned so far for those who haven’t been reading along.  It’s already been a great couple of months here and I’ve been busy from Day 1.

The Fun Spot project is the primary reason I was brought in to GCII.  This project, GCII’s first ever completely steel-structured wooden coaster, requires hundreds of individual supports that are cut and punched to specifications here in Sunbury.  While we have just scratched the surface on the processing of this material, the problems that have already been uncovered and solved have given me valuable experience into how to go about managing a first-time project.  Furthermore, seeing the attention to detail taken by the employees here in regards to this project has shown me exactly why GCII’s rides are some of the highest quality in the amusement industry.  Absolutely no detail is too small to examine in depth, especially when dealing with a new structure type.  I cannot wait to see White Lightning built and know that I had a hand in its creation.

In addition to White Lightning, Jerry has given me many opportunities to get my hands dirty working with part fabrication for Gold Striker as well as our transfer tables.  I’ve gotten to see several parts through from raw material all the way through final painting.  I’ve also gotten to go out to the job site and see how some of these individual parts fit into the big picture of the ride being built, which from an engineering standpoint might be the coolest part.  Seeing exactly how a part fits onto a ride and getting to experience part fabrication first hand will be invaluable in the future with part design.

So, what are some of the big picture things that working at GCII has taught me thus far?  First, and most obviously, there is a whole lot more to building a roller coaster than jotting down an awesome layout.  Every individual part of the ride is carefully designed, from the loading platform all the way through the final brake run.  Secondly, when working at a small company the responsibilities of the employees are amplified much more so than at a large corporation.  As an intern, l get to do meaningful work that has a direct impact on the product GCII produces.  This has created a highly rewarding experience so far.  Lastly, as an engineer it is very rare that you will work exclusively with your discipline.  So far in my internship I’ve gotten to see civil and mechanical engineering in action, as well as part fabrication and construction.  These are three different disciplines all equally important in making a high quality ride.

Well, I hope this has been a decent recap of what I’ve done so far this term.  In my next entry I’ll get back to talking about our current activities and such, which should be pretty interesting.  I hope my blogs so far have been informative and I encourage you to continue reading throughout the second half of the term.

Happy Early Halloween!




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