MASON, Ohio -- It was a nice ride, Firehawk.
Kings Island officials made a highly-anticipated announcement Thursday morning that the park would bid farewell to its "flying coaster." Final rides will begin this weekend; Firehawk's last flight will be Oct. 28.
"While still popular with many guests, park officials state the ride has simply reached the end of its service life," officials said in a statement.
Enthusiasts had been speculating for days that the park would get rid of either Firehawk or Vortex.
The coaster community thought Firehawk would come down for a number of reasons:
- Firehawk is a complicated, high maintenance ride that is often down for maintenance. It is also very slow loading.
- Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville just announced a new ride coming next year called "Kentucky Flyer". Firehawk is considered a flying coaster. Kentucky Kingdom could pay for teardown costs, and have Firehawk reassembled with a new name, by next April. Kentucky Kingdom also has a height limit of just 200 feet, due to Louisville airport proximity, and Firehawk conveniently fits under that limit.
- Removing Firehawk, and combining its footprint with the neighboring Dinosaurs Alive exhibit (now closed), would open up 20 acres or more for construction of a new giga coaster at Kings Island.
- Kings Island never loved Firehawk anyway, as it was a hand-me-down from the now defunct Geauga Lake in northeast Ohio.
So, what's next? Will the park get its first giant, 300-feet tall giga coaster? Sister park Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, has one, but Kings Island does not.
Kings Island filed for a State of Ohio work permit over the summer, listing Bolliger and Mabillard as a construction company. The Swiss roller-coaster builder is the currently the top builder of massive coasters in the world. Kings Island will not comment on any future construction they may be doing at the park.
Theme park forums like KI Central.com speculate the park will tease hints of a new giga coaster all next season, with an announcement coming toward the end of next year. That will keep us guessing for another full year!
UPDATE 9/28/2018: Kentucky Kingdom, in response to our report, now says the Kentucky Flyer will be a different ride, not a rebuilt Firehawk. However, the park is not saying it if it taking Firehawk, and Kings Island will not comment on where the ride may be going.
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