NAIT helps bring Fort Edmonton Park Chair-o-Planes to life
After three years and countless volunteer hours, Fort Edmonton Park’s newest midway attraction is up and running, thanks to help from several NAIT staff members and students. The Chair-o-Planes ride is an early 20th century spinning ride that emulates the experience of flying in an open cockpit.
“The work that was done would not have been possible without the help of volunteers, especially NAIT,” said Suzzette Mellado, Fort Edmonton Park communications coordinator. “This contribution was very invaluable to us and we’re very grateful for it.”
Six NAIT staff members were involved in the project (which had more than 40 volunteers in total): Greg Von Lipinski, chair of the Electrical Engineering Technology, Powerline Technician, and Power System Electrician programs; Electrician instructors Gordon MacDonald, Tim Rosen, Jeremy Paziuk, Arthur Gudmundson; and Kathy Cocchio, curriculum and instruct coordinator with the Learning and Teaching Commons.
Part of the work involved running power to the ride, said Electrician instructor Tim Rosen. “It was close to 300 feet of pipe and it wasn’t a straight line from the mechanical room to get the power out there.”
Electrical Engineering Technology students Casey Shunock and Kim Whale sized equipment – including cables and conduit enclosures – and designed the controls for the ride. Digital Media and Information Technology grad (class of 2014) Peter Grelli also volunteered for the project, contributing to a Chair-O-Planes historical colouring book. Cocchio also helped make the book, which is sold in the park’s gift shop. She researched, wrote and edited some of the text, and contributed to the concept and template. The books were printed at NAIT.
“The really cool part for me is that I’ve got grandchildren I can take to Fort Edmonton and when they ride on the ride or colour in the colouring book, they know that Grammy had something to do with it,” Kathy says.
The Chair-o-Planes is part of Fort Edmonton Park’s Midway Expansion Plan. It officially opened to the public in August. The structure is originally from the 1920s but volunteers put in brand new parts and updated the electrical work.
Fort Edmonton Park is only open on weekends in September so if you want to visit the 1920s Midway and Amusement Park and see the work NAIT volunteers have done, Mellado says to come before the end of the month.
“You’ll feel like you’re flying,” she said. “It’s a nostalgic ride and you also get a great view of the park.”
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With more than 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.
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