I can bet that most of you ThemeParkHipsters used to love swings growing up. I did too. Cedar Point took common playground swings and blew it up 103 feet tall. And boom! The Skyhawk was born.
I have never chickened out of a ride once I was in the queue, but man oh man did I have to think twice about the Skyhawk at Cedar Point.
Now if you’re one of the brave few people who want to swing up 125 feet and not puke, sit back and enjoy this guide on everything you need to know about Skyhawk!
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History of the Skyhawk, Cedar Point
This “super-size swing” was part of Cedar Point’s race to have the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world.
In 1956, two entrepreneurial minds came together and decided to make it the ‘Disneyland of the Midwest’. I know what you’re thinking.
‘Disneyland, huh? Very ambitious.’
And yes, it was very ambitious which is exactly why they had to do something big– something that would set them apart from the other theme parks and raise it to Disney’s level of stardom.
They decided to beat every other roller coaster in the world. If there was a faster, longer or taller roller coaster, they would beat it by making an even faster, longer or taller roller coaster.
Now, what’s ambitious?
Anyways, they got their stardom by doing this. But the other theme parks also picked up on this little trick. And so the race began.
But Cedar Point has managed to keep the gold medal for itself. Many times it fought really hard to keep it.
The Skyhawk was one of its many attempts to reclaim the medal.
When did Skyhawk open?
This incredible ride opened to the public on May 6, 2006. At the time, the Skyhawk was the tallest and fastest swing. It kept that record for almost a whole year before another theme park stole it.
But the Skyhawk remains a huge favorite with the adrenaline junkies to this day.
If you’re anything like me, you have skipped to this part because you’re so excited to find out what happens on the ride.
It’s quite self-explanatory.
You stand in the queue like you would for any other ride. The wait time for this ride is much shorter than usual– considering how popular it is with Cedar Point visitors.
The average wait time if five to ten minutes in the off-peak times and ten-twenty minutes during peak times. Quite reasonable, yes?
When you strap yourself into this ride… well, you can’t really call it strapping. You have one single lap bar and a small strap to hold your upper body.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this is to make sure that you feel as out-of-control as possible. Just to get the adrenalin pumping you know.
Anyways, the ride begins by slowly swinging from side-to-side. And before you know it, you are being flung 125 feet in the air.
That’s about twelve stories high. That’s scary.
No. That’s scary AWESOME!
The ride will slow down again and the swinging arms will come to a halt right where you started. You will get off feeling a little woozy and totally exhilarated.
Congratulations! You just braved the Skyhawk!
I love geeking out about ride designs so let’s not waste any more time.
The Skyhawk is one of the few thrill attractions that was made in the USA. The rest are usually from somewhere in Europe– usually Switzerland or Germany.
Who built the Skyhawk at Cedar Point?
Skyhawk was built by S&S: Sansei Technologies. They are one of the most well-known amusement park builders to build pneumatic rides.
Now that is not a disease (I know it sounds like it).
Pneumatic (in this context) means that the ride uses compressed air to work. Simply put, the compressed air pushes the swing up and then pushes it back down.
Fun Fact: Pneumatic systems also control the opening of the gates of the ride (look out for the hiss) and the movement of the lap bar.
The Skyhawk has two huge swinging arms. The bottom end of these arms has a gondola to carry the riders. Each of these arms can seat 20 riders in its gondola.
That’s 40 riders per minute!
Things You Probably Did Not Know
- The Skyhawk has about 800 riders per hour
- It makes a 230-degree arc while swinging– that’s almost a full circle!
- The Skyhawk is the world’s tallest swing ride and rightly so considering it is 103 feet tall.
- If the Skyhawk was a building, it would be ten floors high.
- Towards the end of the ride, riders are moving at a whopping 65 miles per hour!
- Riders get flung up 125 feet in the air even though the Skyhawk is 103 feet tall.
- You will experience a bit of airtime on the ride aka you will like you are free-falling from 125 feet!
- You must be at least 48-inches tall to ride this beast.
- There is nothing to hold on to during this ride– just a lap bar. Enjoy!
- The entire ride just lasts for one heart-racing minute.
Top Theme Park Hipster Tips for Skyhawk at Cedar Point
1. Ride with an empty stomach
This goes for the Skyhawk in particular. All that swinging can really make your stomach churn.
You don’t want to be spectacularly puking while going 60 miles an hour 125 feet in the air.
2. Watch the drinking
Same goes for the drinking, since there is the added element of you being drunk and therefore, more likely to hurl.
Just wait till after you ride the Skyhawk. The day is yours to indulge in whatever you like!
3. Check your pockets
I know they announce this one before you get into the ride. But take it seriously.
People have lost their gold rings, favorite bracelet and even glasses because they refused to store them away when on the ride. Don’t be one of them.
4. Ride on the side… Or not
In a ride like the Skyhawk, people sitting on the sides of the gondola get the best experience.
By that, I mean that they scream the most.
Why? Because there is nothing but air on one side! And the wind feels wild. So, if you’re an adrenalin junkie like me, ensure that you sit on the side for maximum fun!
5. Braid your hair
Ladies, this hack will change your life!
Put your hair in braids. This stops it from getting all tangled and looking like a porcupine exploded on it.
6. Read the instructions
Kind of a weird one, but seriously this ride has so many instructions and guides.
And unlike a lot of other thrilling rides and roller coasters at Cedar Point, some of these instructions might apply to you.
SO please check if you can actually ride the Skyhawk before getting on it.
Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!
And that folks, is the Skyhawk.
Just remember that this is not your average amusement park attraction. It is not a ride if you have a weak stomach, mark my words (or the poor people queueing up under you will).
But most importantly, remember not to take yourself too seriously and just have fun. You’re at Cedar Point to let loose and have a great time.
Skyhawk will go down in history not just for being the tallest swing coaster of 2006, but also being one of the most innovative rides I have seen. I mean, no one had ever thought of a ‘super-size swing’ before this, really?
Anyhoo, slap it on your bucket list and you will very proud when you tick it off. Just get on with both feet in the swing, tight seatbelt and get ready to scream your head off!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!