Specific Type: Flying Dutchman
Flying, it is what birds do and what man has always wanted to do. To gracefully dart the skies above and feel free. In the roller coaster world, the concept of flight finally took off in 2000 when Santa Clarita, California's Great America theme park opened up Stealth (now Nighthawk at Carowinds). More than seven years of planning took place between Vekoma and Paramount Parks (owners of Great America back in 2000) to come up with a solid ride that is known by Vekoma as the Flying Dutchman. Stealth was a huge success and in 2001, Six Flags wanted to get two of Vekoma's newest creations. One of them for Six Flags America(Batwing) and the other for their former Ohio park, Six Flags Ohio (X-Flight).
The story of Firehawk began back at sister park Geauga Lake. Back in 2000, the park was owned by Six Flags and became flagged in 2000 with the addition of four new roller coasters and themed sections. But in early January 2001, Six Flags announced the
Soaring over Geauga: Firehawk originally operated at Geauga Lake as X-Flight. It was one of the many new additions for the 2001 season at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure.
addition of X-Flight, the area's first and only flying roller coaster. Also just days later, Six Flags also announced their purchase of nearby SeaWorld Ohio, in which Six Flags combined their theme park, Six Flags Ohio with SeaWorld Ohio to form one "mega park" known as Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. Six Flags thought they were ready to take on the nearby titan Cedar Point in the 2001 season with their new strategy.
X-Flight began to take shape throughout the cold, snowy winter of 2001 as fluorescent green track and black supports began to dominate the coaster filled skyline of the park. On May 25th, 2001, X-Flight opened to riders and enthusiasts wanting to fly like a bird, a big green screaming bird. Boasting a layout similar to Stealth, X-Flight became a hit with guests during its time at the park. It remained a hit even after Six Flags sold the park to Cedar Fair in 2004. However, under new ownership, Cedar Fair wanted to take the park back to its family roots before Six Flags’ takeover. Over time throughout the 2005 and 2006 seasons, rides were slowly beginning to vanish to make the park look like the family park it once was instead of the tall thrill rides people would expect to see at Cedar Point. Late into the 2006 season,X-Flight was silently closed for good and it was removed throughout the off season. People began to speculate where X-Flightwould go. Only time would tell until February 2007, when parts of X-Flight began to arrive at Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Days later, Kings Island announced the addition of Firehawk, which was X-Flight at Geauga Lake. Being situated behind Flight of Fear, Firehawk is the signature new attraction in the park’s newly themed X-Base section. Track was repainted from the bright green and black track and supports to a dark red and gray monster ready to take riders on the flight of their lives.
Soon to be test pilots of Firehawk start off by entering the newly themed X-Base section from under the park's first roller coaster, the Racer. Eventually winding through the queue themed after a military base, riders eventually enter a hangar that contains a duel-loading station. Test pilots then board the six rows of four-across seats and pull down their lap bars and shoulder restraints before taking off on this prototype aircraft.
Eventually, the trains recline back into a lay-down position and then turns into the 115 foot tall lift hill. Riders are then treated with a view of Kings Island before Firehawk takes its pilots into a layout filled with twists and turns riders would expect from stunts performed by a jet plane. The train then dips slightly and a barrel roll turns the trains from a reclined position on its back to a prone flying position with riders looking down at the ground from over one hundred feet in the air. After that, the train then goes down a one hundred foot drop down, twisting to the left and gaining speeds of over fifty-five miles per hour. After that, riders than go over an over-banked horseshoe turn, giving riders a chance to literally kiss the sky. After the over-banked turn, the train takes another barrel roll back into the lay down position and takes another turn before entering the next element. After twisting and dipping back into the lay down position, riders then go through the vertical loop, which pulls over four G's. After a forceful vertical loop, riders then go on another turn, twisting back again into a flying position and then takes riders through a banked turn into the next element, the double spin. The double spin consists of two barrel rolls, taken at a high speed, that gives riders a dizzying illusion of facing the sky and the ground twice. After the mind bending double spin, riders then fly through a 540-degree helix as the rides grand finale before twisting back into the lay down position and hitting the brakes. Firehawk then makes a safe "landing" back in the station and riders catch their breath after surviving the flight of their lives.
From its beginning as X-Flight back at Geauga Lake to its new home at Kings Island, Firehawk is bound to thrill riders and give a memorable flight at the same time. If you are looking for an intense flying roller coaster bound to amaze your senses and literally be in the cockpit of a prototype jet fighter, then Firehawk at Kings Island is your best bet for an experience you will never forget.
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