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Cleveland engineers help GateKeeper fly

Published: May 3, 2013 1:49 PM

Sandusky – When Clevelanders board Cedar Point’s newest coaster, GateKeeper, they’ll be taking flight on a record-breaking ride that their own city played an integral part in creating.

Cleveland-based consulting engineering firm, Karpinski Engineering, provided electrical engineering design and mechanical engineering on hydraulic systems for GateKeeper, now the tallest and longest wing roller coaster in the world. Though this was Karpinski Engineering’s first coaster project, the work wasn’t that different in scope from other projects the firm has done, said Rocco Gallo, Karpinski Engineering principal, director of electrical engineering, and project manager for GateKeeper.

Working from the manufacturer’s drawings, Karpinski Engineering provided electrical and mechanical connections for the coaster and created new, user-friendly drawings for contractors.

“It was kind of like we were making a cake, and somebody gave us the recipe,” Gallo said.

While engineering for the coaster may have been customary for Gallo, the amusement park environment was anything but – a jobsite full of thrill rides is not something he sees every day. Still, Gallo enjoyed the new atmosphere.

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“It was nice to see families enjoying Cedar Point,” he said. “I like knowing that Karpinski Engineering has contributed to this.”

While GateKeeper was designed by Switzerland-based coaster manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard, Ohio companies played a large role in making the coaster. Clermont Steel Fabricators, located east of Cincinnati, was responsible for the steel supports and track. Sandusky-based Firelands Electric provided control wiring for operation of the coaster and its lighting, which includes illumination of the ride, station, and walkway. General contractor A.A. Boos & Sons, located in Oregon, Ohio, was in charge of the coaster’s foundation.

Flying above the park’s main entrance, GateKeeper soars over arriving guests – narrowly passing through front-gate portals, sliding by buildings, and simulating the feeling of flight. Passengers will be rotated 180 degrees, plummeted 164 feet, and rolled 360 degrees at speeds of up to 67 mph while traveling the coaster’s 4,164-foot track.

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