Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tossed and Twirled by Mighty maXair

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tossed and Twirled by Mighty maXair

Article excerpt


SANDUSKY, Ohio -- I am a roller coaster junkie.

My addiction started with a family trip to the Lucas County fair in Ohio when I was 6. My friend Tiffany and I fell in love with the black steel arms and rotating buckets of the Spider. We got on eight times, always waiting with fingers tightly wrapped over the metal bar for the ride to start its crazed looping path again and again and again.

With age and height, I was able to move to the big leagues -- the roller coasters at Cedar Point, the scream mecca located a 45-minute drive from my front door in Toledo.

My first roller coaster-filled summer, the one when I finally exceeded the 48-inch height requirement, meant multiple trips on the Gemini, Blue Streak, Corkscrew, Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Iron Dragon and WildCat -- now the park's aging dinosaurs.

My sister (aka scream partner) and I awaited each season's new ride opening: the Magnum XL-200, Mean Streak, Raptor, Mantis, Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster. We never had second thoughts about waiting in three-hour lines to test the newest, highest, fastest coaster.

Only the Dragster has let us down. Like a lover scorned, we stood on the platform just minutes away from being thrust 420 feet into the clear blue sky when they closed the ride down for safety concerns. So we walked slowly back through the twisting turnstiles we had stood patiently in and made the most of it by hitting this year's new ride, maXair.

MaXair's long arm holds a giant circle of 50 outward-facing seats. The circle rotates as the arm swings riders 140 feet up in the air at 72 mph in a pendulum-type motion. My husband, who hadn't said no to a ride yet, took one look at the twirling, whirling mass and headed to Starbucks for an iced coffee, leaving my sister and me on our own.

The wait was short, about 15 minutes. My flip-flops were stowed, our harnesses buckled and tightened, and the ride began its first, rather tentative swing. Then we were hurled back-and-forth, and at each peak we experienced "max" airtime, that weightless feeling coaster junkies covet before each major drop. …

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