Hello there, its been about two months since my last post. Coaching middle school football, going back to school and everything I do otherwise has kept me ridiculously busy, so I haven't had time to post.
I wanted to post some quick thoughts on Kings Island announcing the removal of Firehawk back in September.
Now first off, I had heard rumblings about this for almost two years. I just wasn't sure how true they were and if it would ever occur. I figured the next area of expansion would be the huge plot behind Action Zone, but it turns out I was probably wrong.
I first rode Firehawk as X-Flight back at Geauga Lake when it was still my home park (RIP). I remember being amazed just by the design of the ride itself, let alone the ride experience. I think I only rode it once or twice due to long lines and a lack of visits in Geauga Lake's final years. I spent almost every day during the summers of my junior and senior years, but once I got to college, start coaching and had to work a full time job, those trips pretty much became nonexistent.
I remember riding it again for the first time after its relocation to Kings Island and thinking it was a much better fit there. Having it over a grassy/part-forested plot of land made it seem much higher and faster than having it close to the street over what essentially was a giant plot of sand and dirt made the ride experience that much better.
Some people didn't like it at all. I was in the boat that if the line were short or if I was there with someone who had never ridden it and wanted to, I would ride. Otherwise, I would typically skip it.
Of the Vekoma Flying Dutchman models, I've only ridden Firehawk and Nighthawk. Batwing was closed during my trip to SFA (and pretty much most of the season). I didn't find Nighthawk to be as horribly rough as some claim, but I found the layout to be super boring. Firehawk had a much better layout and transitions between elements.
As for the removal: when I first saw the sign announcing something would be removed, I figured it would be Firehawk based on the fact that the paint was peeling so bad on the track for the last 2-3 years and no repaint or upkeep was done. Two of my friends with inside knowledge also confirmed it for me before the announcement was even made. While the coaster isn't all that old, I firmly believe that Vekoma has stopped making the parts for their older models, and we'll be seeing a lot of older Vekomas on the chopping block over the next several years. That said, I feel like they'll still make boomerang parts just due to the sheer volume of those coasters out there.
Am I said - yeah, there are very few coasters whose removal doesn't make a coaster enthusiast at least a bit sad - even the horrible ones. However, I'm excited for the future and whatever expansion Kings Island undertakes. Will it be a Giga? I'm 50/50 on that right now. I know the KI Fanboys will have a heart attack if they announce something else, but KI almost is in the same boat as CP in that any coaster they add must have high capacity - and KI already has a hyper, GCI, invert... most models you can think of. Would they add a Mack launch coaster like Carowinds? Maybe. Would they add a B&M flyer? Maybe. Would they add a Giga? Maybe. Only time will tell.
Thank you Firehawk for many thrills over the years. I don't look forward to having to get my Flying Dutchman fix by riding your bastard stepbrothers, but we'll always have the memories.