Inspectors give new high-flying NC State fair ride thorough inspection

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Labor department officials are doing thorough inspections of a new ride for the 2016 North Carolina State Fair.

The Flyer Sky Ride is a chair lift that will carry passengers above the fairgrounds from gate 8 to gate 11.

Inspectors checked out every bolt and cable on the nearly 1,500-foot long ride for two days.

They say the mechanical workings are good to go but there is still some cosmetic work and permitting to be done.

Safety is their top priority for any ride that you’ll see at the fair.

The Department of Labor is responsible for inspecting the ride to ensure it’s up to state code.

In this case, inspectors from the Elevator and Amusement Ride Bureau are looking for anything that does not adhere to the Passenger Tramway Safety Act.

They even carried out a full-load test, putting 374 pounds onto each chair.

“We put the full weight in water barrels and tested the lift with the weight, stopping distances. You have two sets of brakes, you have an emergency brake and a regular service brake,” said Tommy Petty, deputy chief of the Elevator and Amusement Ride Bureau.

Although the Sky Ride is tall, with the highest point 42 feet off the ground, it is slow.


It moves at two miles per hour.

There are 126 seats that seat two people each.

Ride inspectors say the restraint bars are similar to those on ski lifts.

However, on the Sky Ride, those bars will be locked into place by ride operators.

The inspections and training for ride operators are so important because of incidents like in 2013 when five people were thrown from the Vortex while they were trying unload from the ride.

In May a ride operator accused of tampering with the Vortex pleaded guilty to charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

“Make sure everything functions for the safety of the public, the riding public, and the visitors to the state of North Carolina. We always in anything we do, that’s our goal is public safety,” said Petty.

The Flyer Sky Ride will be $5 one way and $8 for a round trip. If you opt for the round trip, you can get off on the other end, ride a few rides and eat a few fried Oreos, and then hop back on for the return ride.

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