Firehawk Roller Coaster Kings Island
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Firehawk roller coaster is a flying roller coaster located at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio. Manufactured by Vekoma, it originally opened as X-Flight at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure on May 26, 2001, billed as the Midwest’s first and only flying roller coaster. Cedar Fair purchased Worlds of Adventure in 2004 and began efforts to downsize the park. X-Flight was relocated to Kings Island following the 2006 season, where it reopened as Firehawk roller coaster on May 26, 2007.
Firehawk roller coaster layout is identical to Batwing, another Vekoma Flying Dutchman model from Vekoma, located at Six Flags America amusement park. On September 27, 2018, Kings Island announced that the ride would be removed following the end of the 2018 season.
Six Flags Worlds of Adventure/Geauga Lake (2001–2006)
While the park was still named Six Flags Ohio, plans for a new roller coaster known as X-Flight were revealed on January 4, 2001. Six days later, Six Flags purchased SeaWorld Ohio – next to Geauga Lake – with the intent of merging the two to create Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. The new venture advertised X-Flight as the first Flying roller coaster in the Midwest, and it was the park’s tenth roller coaster overall – the fifth added since 2000. The new coaster was built on a former bus parking lot, and Geauga Lake Road had to be rerouted around the ride. Regarding the design of the attraction, Jake Bateman, Vice President and General Manager of Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, said:
“ X-Flight will be so thrilling and so unique that a new category far above ultimate will have to be created to describe the experience. There is nothing to compare it to in Ohio or the Midwest, for that matter. ”
X-Flight while at Geauga Lake
Land clearing began on December 1, 2000, and construction on the footers began February 9, 2001. X-Flight was originally supposed to open in early May 2001, but due to technical difficulties, its opening was delayed. During testing, problems were discovered with several devices including the reclining mechanism on the trains and their restraints. X-Flight’s media day was eventually held on May 24, 2001, and the ride officially opened two days later on May 26.
Cedar Fair purchased the park from Six Flags in 2004 for $145 million. They announced intentions of returning the park to its roots as a family-oriented amusement park. The efforts to downsize the park eventually led to X-Flight’s removal. On November 22, 2006, Geauga Lake park officials announced that X-Flight was being dismantled to be sent to another unspecified Cedar Fair property. Moving the ride would take some time, as the final sections of track and supports wouldn’t be removed until March 2007.
Kings Island (2007–2018)
On January 22, 2007, green Vekoma track resembling the track of X-Flight was spotted at Kings Island, a Cedar Fair park in Mason, Ohio. On February 5, 2007, Kings Island officially announced Firehawk roller coaster as the former X-Flight roller coaster from Geauga Lake. Construction was scheduled to begin later that month, and the opening was set for Memorial Day weekend later that year. X-Flight’s neon green track and dark blue supports were re-painted red and steel gray, respectively.
It was built in an area next to Flight of Fear, creating a new area named X-Base which connects to nearby area Coney Mall via a walkway under Racer’s lift hill. Firehawk officially opened as scheduled on May 26, 2007. It was the first roller coaster to be introduced at the park since Cedar Fair purchased it from Paramount Parks in 2006. The first 2,500 riders received commemorative Firehawk T-shirts. On September 27, 2018, Kings Island announced that Firehawk roller coaster would close permanently on October 28, 2018. It will be dismantled and removed from the park.
The steel track is 3,340 feet (1,020 m) in length, and the height of the lift is 115 feet (35 m). There are approximately 300 sections of track colored red with steel gray supports. When the ride operated at Geauga Lake, the track was neon green with dark blue supports.
Firehawk roller coaster has a total of five inversions – one vertical loop, two inline twists, and four 180-degree inline twists that are each counted as a half inversion. These 180-degree inline twists are also known as “Lie to Fly” and “Fly to Lie” elements, in which riders on their backs are flipped to face the ground or vice versa.
Once riders are seated and restrained, the train is tilted backwards into a ‘lay-down’ position and dispatched. The train travels backwards out of the station, turns left and travels up the 115-foot (35 m) lift hill at a 33 degree angle. Once the train reaches the top of the lift hill, it dips down into a twist (called a “Lie-to-Fly”) that turns the trains upside down into a flying position where riders face the ground. After the twist, the train travels down the first drop, reaching speeds of 51 mph (82 km/h).
Riders then proceed through an over banked Horseshoe Curve element, passing the queue area. Following the Horseshoe, the train enters a “Fly-to-Lie” element that turns riders back to a lay-down position. After the banked turn, the ride enters the 66-foot (20 m) tall vertical loop, where riders experience 4.3 G’s. The train then goes into another “Lie-to-Fly” element. Following the loop, riders enter another turn and hit two consecutive inline twists. Following the inline twists, the train enters the final helix followed by the final “Fly-to-Lie” element. Afterwards, the train is slowed to a stop on the brake run before returning to the station.
The coaster features a dual station which is connected to the main track using a switch track segment (similar to a railroad switch). Dual-station operation allows for two trains to be loaded simultaneously for more efficient operation. This configuration existed since the ride debuted at Geauga Lake.
Firehawk roller coaster currently operates with two trains. There are six cars with four seats in each row for a total of 24 riders per train. There were three trains during the ride’s first year at Geauga Lake, however only two have been used since. The third train became a parts donor for the first two. Originally, riders reclined on the lift hill – rather than in the station – and returned to an upright position prior to re-entering the station. However, this was changed to occur in the station due to problems that arose during the ride’s first season. The trains feature the Firehawk roller coaster logo on the front colored yellow and red. Previously at Geauga Lake, the X-Flight logo was colored lime green and dark blue.
On August 8, 2009, an adult male passenger was rushed to a hospital after he was found with breathing problems following the ride. He died the same evening. The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office reported that a heart condition was the likely cause of death and ruled it natural. The ride was re-opened at 12:10 pm on August 9, 2009, after an inspection by the Ohio Department of Agriculture – a division of the state government responsible for amusement park ride safety in Ohio. They determined the ride was operating within the manufacturer’s specifications.
Banshee – The Bat – Delirium – Drop Tower: Scream Zone – Invertigo – Xtreme Skyflyer – Backlot Stunt Coaster – The Racer – Vortex – WindSeeker – Firehawk – Flight of Fear – Boo Blasters on Boo Hill – Eiffel Tower – Adventure Express – SlingShot – Flying Ace Aerial Chase – Woodstock Express – Diamondback – Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad – Mystic Timbers – The Beast
Record Video on Firehawk Roller Coaster
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