CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Kings Island announces which roller coaster will close

The park first formally announced plans to close the ride earlier this week.

“While still popular with many guests, park officials state the ride has simply reached the end of its service life,” Kings Island said in a release.

INITIAL POST: Kings Island to close one of the park’s 16 roller coasters

Guests to the annual Halloween event on Friday were the first to see a new grave site in the park's annual 'ride graveyard' display, all set-up for a funeral service and containing a sign with the message.

“The air is eerily calm as we make final preparations for the ill-fated demise of one of our own,” a sign read at the display.

The ride will close on Oct. 28.

Firehawk got its start as “X-Flight” when it opened in 2001 at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, an Aurora, Ohio, amusement park, according to Don Helbig, area manager of digital marketing for Kings Island. It was relocated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company to Kings Island in 2007. 

It's billed as Ohio's only flying coaster with a 3,340-foot steel track and a maximum speed of 51 mph, boasting five inversions — one vertical loop, two inline twists and four 180-degree inline twists that are counted as a half inversion each and add up to two inversions in all. 

Photo: FILE PHOTO

"Firehawk has been a guest favorite throughout its 12 seasons at Kings Island, which is why the announcement was made now so fans of the coaster can get in their final rides before it closes in five weeks," Helbig said via his Kings Island blog. "Although it remains popular, the ride has reached the end of its service life." 

Firehawk has given more than 6.7 million rides since its 2007 opening at Kings Island. Its record year came in 2014, when 624,016 rides were given, he said. 

Firehawk at Kings Island.
Photo: GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Once riders are seated, the train seats are tilted backwards into a laying down position and dispatched, Helbig said. The train travels in reverse out of the station, turns left and then travels up to 115 feet into the air at a 33-degree angle. 

At the top of the lift, it dips down into a twist that turns the trains upside down into a flying position where riders face the ground and experience “the unconceivable feeling of flight,” he said. 

Park officials have not said what will replace the roller coaster.

A Kings Island maintenance worker works on the Firehawk ride in 2014.
Photo: GREG LYNCH / STAFF

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