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Old 02-22-2010   #29
HOU-TEX 
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Default Re: Cortland Finnegan afraid to fly?

Okay, here go's it.

A lot of y'all might not remember, but there used to be a cable ski park in League City. I worked there weekends and Summers of my Jr and Sr years in HS. I was the lead maintenance dude and did most of the repairs, anywhere from the go-carts to the cable system. The worst thing that could happen for my position would be a cable derail. They were freakin nightmares!

Anywho, I was off on this particular night until this crap went down. I was at a party and well on my way to being liquored up when the last person I wanted to see showed up. It was the owner of the ski park, and yes, he was looking for me. He said he was entertaining friends of his and allowing them to ski while he operated the rope retrieve and launching system(he wasn't the brightest candle on the cake). Well, one of his dumbass friends let a rope pop out of his hands while attempting a launch and it flung up and over the top cable. The owner, being as dumb as he is, never hit the E-stop to stop the system before the rope got to the 1st tower/pulley. The rope ended up getting caught on tower one while causing....can you guess? Yep, a massive derail!

Considering it's Friday and the next day is usually a big business day, the derail had to be fixed. Trust me, I was contemplating quitting right there to his face, but that wasn't the way I was. I go home around 10PM to change and call to gather what little crew was available. I arrive at work to see the biggest cluster-f--k I've seen since working there. I come up with a gameplan and the first thing to do was to lower the counter-weight, which is on tower 1. The counter-weight consists of an 8ft dia cement pipe around 8 ft long which is filled solid with cement.

So I climb up tower 1 (something similar below), release some tension on the counter-weight and decide to go ahead and re-groove the cables while I was on the tower. Now, unlike the photo below, since our tower 1 was the one that kept tension on the system, the pulleys were suspended by two parallel cables about 30 feet above water. The counter-weight has now been lowered to approx 15-20 feet below the cables I will be climbing on to get to the pulley. I begin my quest to get to the pulley by doing the usual upside down with feet and hands around the cable and inching my way out to the pulley. (this all happened in milli-seconds)While sliding my hand across the cable a frayed strand of cable shot through my glove and into my hand causing that hand to let go. My opposite hand was already off the cable because I was in the procees of bringing it above the other. So my upper falls, one of my legs were out of position and I was going to fall face first straight down on to the counter-weight. But! The one leg that was still around the cable caught the other cable parallel and allowed me enough time to grab back ahold with the hand that was stabbed.

I ended up finishing the job and got back home around 6AM. I quit the following day.

It might not sound that frightening to some, but there was no doubt in my mind that I would've been killed or seriously messed up had I fallen and hit that counter-weight on the way down.

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