I'm not a big fan of ferris wheels, so I always skip this attraction at DCA, but a couple of months ago we were there with friends and while they were in line for the ride, we saw 3 separate pieces of something (maybe bolts?) fall from different places on the ferris wheel. This happened while the ride was in motion. We told a cast member, and they seemed pretty blase about it. (They also continued normal operation of the ride)
Then we were there a couple of weeks ago, walking past, and telling someone else that story and she mentioned that just a few days before SHE had also seen pieces falling off that she took to be bolts.
It's my understanding that this variety of ferris wheel wasn't designed for daily or Disney consumption, so it's no surprise that it needs some TLC -- but does anyone know if the maintenance team is regularly inspecting this? The CMs seemed uninterested, and an email to Guest Service got a canned response.
I imagine that a ride like this is designed to function safely even with a few pieces missing, but at what point does it become unsafe?