What qualifications do you need to become a roller coaster engineer?
You probably won’t find the specific title “Roller Coaster Engineer”.
Manufacturing firms assemble teams of engineers of different disciplines to help design certain components of a roller coaster. For instance, controls and hardware is often outsourced to a third party company.
The types of engineers that work on roller coasters are civil/structural, mechanical, and electrical (most commonly). So an engineering company will hire a team of a wide range to help focus on certain aspects.
Rocky Mountain Construction for instance, has a lead structural engineer, and a team of mechanical engineers to help design their structures and trains.
It’s a very competitive and specialized business. At the very least, a company will be looking for a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and most likely industry experience.
How are the rides in theme parks tested before opening for the public when factors like neck spasm, palpitation or giddiness are different for different people?
Generally theme parks downright prohibit riders with medical issues from riding attractions, as even something as gentle as a carousel or train ride could lead to an incident. I have witnessed many guests claim discrimination against disabled people, but it is simply the theme parks trying to keep their guests happy and safe.
When rides are constructed, they are not necessarily tested for different medical conditions or intensity factors. It is a mix between manufacturer recommendations, amusement codes and local laws, ADA guidelines, and the park’s discretion to come up with criteria for rider restrictions based on the nature of the ride.
For example, at the park that I work at, we are told that guests with neck/spinal problems, heart conditions, pregnancy, and motion sickness, among other major conditions should not be allowed on any ride. While these medical issues are not always visible to the eye, it is the job of the ride operators to be vigilant and inform anybody who has a doubt about riding. “Ride at your own risk” comes into play, because only the rider knows their general health.
In the US, it is general practice to place ADA signs at ride entrances, and provide disabled guests with accessibility guides telling them the different policies for each attraction.
So in conclusion, it is more of a standard practice to restrict riders off the bat, rather than test rides to see if a medical condition can cause potential harm to a rider. The end goal of a ride manufacturer is to construct a safe and exciting ride, while designing it so that the majority of the general public can ride it.