Kings Island Gives Firehawk the Axe – Misdemeanor or Felony?

Kings Island had recently hinted that one of their coasters was about to bite the dust and there was considerable speculation as to which one.  Clues pointed to either Vortex or Firehawk as the most likely victim.   And now the suspense is over.  The park announced yesterday that Firehawk would be removed at the end of the operating season in late October.   According to Kings Island’s blog, although this coaster remains popular it has reached the end of its service life.  There is plenty of speculation – possible giga coaster? – but no word as to what will replace it.  Nor is it clear whether Firehawk will be demolished or once again relocated.  Final rides/rites will be from this weekend to the end of Halloween Haunt and Great Pumpkin Fest.  Under the circumstances, I just might go back to Kings Island for one last ride despite being some distance away and having been there as recently as April.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Firehawk, relocated from Worlds of Adventure in Aurora, OH (where it was known as X-Flight), is one of only three Vekoma Flying Dutchman coasters currently in operation.   That is one of the reasons I will miss it.  It’s a rare breed.   The custom riding position – leaving from and returning to the station in a lying down posture – differentiated it from countless other coasters.  The ride experience itself, for me at least, was a thrilling one – from facing downward feeling as if I was about to be ejected to going through the vertical loop on my back.  The removal of Firehawk brings the count of Vekoma Flying Dutchman models down to two and one of them, Nighthawk at Carowinds, has become too painfully rough to be tolerable.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

I had been hoping that of the two most likely candidates for elimination, it would be Vortex that got the axe.  Vortex is a rougher and as far as I am aware less popular ride than Firehawk but also undoubtedly much less expensive to maintain.  And obviously, the space needed to erect a new attraction would be a factor in determining which coaster to kill off.  Even so, I’m extremely unhappy about Firehawk’s fate and think that getting rid of it is a crime.  Video courtesy of Kings Island.

What’s your take?  How do you feel about Kings Island’s decision to eliminate Firehawk?