Kings Island is closing Firehawk roller coaster; no word on what’s next

MASON, Ohio — A Kings Island roller coaster that will be removed from the almost 50-year-old amusement park northeast of Cincinnati is not as old as you would expect.

Firehawk, a steel roller coaster located in the Coney Mall area of the park, has been at Kings Island since 2007.  It originally opened May 26, 2001, as X-Flight at Worlds of Adventure in Aurora, Ohio.

“While still popular with many guests, … the ride has simply reached the end of its service life,” park officials said. 

When Firehawk finally leaves, the ride will have been operational for 11 years, five months and two days from its Kings Island opening date. It is a Flying Dutchman model steel flying roller coaster built by manufacturer Vekoma of Vlodrop, a town in The Netherlands close to the German border.

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Two other Flying Dutchman model coasters are still in operation in the United States, according to Coasterpedia: Batwing at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Maryland; and Nighthawk at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina. Six Flags’ version is the exact same model as Kings Island’s Firehawk; both are older than the Firehawk.

Final rides, or rites, at Kings Island will begin this weekend with the roller coaster’s last days of operation occurring the final weekend of Halloween Haunt and The Great Pumpkin Fest. Its last day is Oct. 28.

Officials have not said what will replace the coaster. 

After the announcement, Kings Island fans on the Kings Island Central Facebook page were speculating about what happens next. 

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Fans hope Firehawk’s departure means a new coaster. Some are rooting for a reprise of Son of Beast. 

Other fans are hoping a giga coaster – one that’s between 300 and 399 feet tall and completes a full circuit – will replace Firehawk. The first giga coaster was Millennium Force, which opened at Cedar Point in 2000.

Follow Jeannie Key and Sarah Brookbank on Twitter: @keyNWP and @SarahBrookbank

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