Friday, August 20, 2010

Preliminary findings on Battlestar Galactica Dueling Coasters Problem at Universal Studios Singapore

[Press Release]

Preliminary Findings on Battlestar Galactica Roller Coaster

SINGAPORE – 20 August 2010 – Preliminary findings on Universal Studios Singapore's Battlestar Galactica (BSG) ride were presented to the Public Entertainments Licensing Unit (PELU) today, detailing investigative testing progress so far, as well as potential solutions to correct defects that were found on the ride during its daily safety-check run cycles on 25 March 2010.

On 18 March 2010, Universal Studios Singapore opened in a standard industry ‘soft-open status’, which means that the rides, shows and other operational aspects of the park are subject to being modified and improved as needed, in order to accommodate actual guest operating conditions and improve the overall experience of the park's visitors.

As standard procedure, all rides at Universal Studios Singapore undergo mandatory daily safety checks during the period when the park is closed to the public. On 25 March 2010, during its morning test cycle, BSG experienced a component failure of a ride seat post support that resulted in the detachment of a seat assembly. No one was on the ride and no one was injured. The ride was immediately shut down for investigative inspection and testing. The closing of the ride was also immediately reported to PELU.

BSG has been closed to the public since 25 March 2010 and has undergone extensive inspection, testing and review by its manufacturer, Vekoma Rides – one of the world’s oldest and largest roller coaster manufacturers – as well as external third-party ride experts, Resorts World Sentosa engineers and Universal Parks & Resorts theme park ride experts.

After months of cycling the ride with load-test and strain measurement equipment, Vekoma Rides has concluded that higher than anticipated stress and vibration levels caused fatigue cracks to develop in a welded component on the ride’s seat-post support. Vekoma Rides and Universal Studios Singapore have agreed that a new machined seat-post component will replace the original welded component (eliminating the weld entirely) and that additional strength-reinforcement parts will also be added.

BSG consists of two individual roller coasters running on parallel 'cross-twisted' tracks with the 'Human' coaster designed as a seated ride car and the 'Cylon' coaster, a suspended ride car. While the fault was found only on the 'Human' coaster, extensive inspection and testing of the 'Cylon' coaster indicated that additional machined and strength-reinforcement parts will also be added for maximum safety. It is not uncommon for theme parks to conduct some re-engineering on new rides to address mechanical issues that may not have been completely anticipated by the original computer-generated designs for the ride.

The re-opening of BSG will be a lengthy process that will begin only after a final engineering solution has been manufactured and installed. Such a solution will have to be validated by an extensive ride cycle testing and inspection, which commences in September, followed by a re-certification by the appropriate local agencies. Only then will Universal Studios Singapore be able to reopen BSG for the enjoyment of guests.
Employee and guest safety is our top priority and will not be compromised. At this time, any dates as to when BSG will reopen would be purely speculative.

Universal Studios Singapore is dedicated, along with the Vekoma Rides project team and the team of RWS, Universal Parks & Resorts and external experts assisting the Vekoma Rides project team, to seeing BSG through to a successful conclusion that has guest and employee safety as its highest priority.

Universal Studios Singapore regrets the inconvenience to its guests that the lengthy BSG closure has caused and seeks their continued patience and understanding as this situation is resolved.


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