Before any thrill seekers can jump aboard the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster in Belmont Park, the staff there has to check out the machine to make sure everything works right.

And they also have the enviable (or unenviable, depending on your thrill tolerance) job of riding the coaster on one test run every morning.

I had the enviable assignment of riding along and documenting the mechanics who keep the ride safe and the people they keep the ride safe for. Check out Adrian Florido’s story about the coaster, which also appears in the October issue of San Diego Magazine. To see what that spread looks like, check out the last images in this blog post.

   Ed MacKeil, one of six mechanics for the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park, conducts a routine safety inspection.

   Before beginning his other duties in the morning, 18-year-old ride operator Daniel Zochowski rides a test run of the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster along with other staff members.

   Nine-year-old Daniella Melendez and 10-year-old Jessica Hamilton holler as the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster rips along the track.


I’m a photojournalist at You can contact me directly at or 619.550.5664.

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Sam Hodgson is a freelance photojournalist and contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can contact him at

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