Gibbo Manta 17 wing First Impressions

Last updated by RizzyWizzy Comments (7)

Categories: Trike Talk

So today I test flew my wing for the very first time. I was quite nervous to tell you the truth, partially because I haven't flown in a while and on top of that this was going to be a brand new wing with no flying experience in that particular wing. I loved it...absolutely loved it. I am low hours (about 150 hours) pilot so my first impressions should be taken with a grain of salt only.

Some of the other wings I have flown (and thus are my only reference) are Streak wing (I learned to fly trikes on a Streak wing and logged the most hours on it). Some of the other wings I flew were Wizard 2, Aeros Stream and Strutted Northwing 19 meter wing.

Of all the wings I flew, my top two pick (other than the Manta 17 meter wing) are Wizard 2 (Hands down the best recreational wing after this Manta 17 in my opinion) and Aero Stream (a 16 meter double surface that was very easy to land, it behaved somewhat like a single surface wing).

I am biased towards Single surface wings and I feel they are ideal to putt around and get some air time, probably not ideal cross country wings (but then I don't care much for cross country flying). I love to fly as slow as possible with some ability to handle turbulence.

What do I like about my Manta wing,

To begin with, I like the shorter width A frame, some people prefer wider A frames, I like shorter A frame because in flight if there is turbulence and I wanted to grab the A frame for leverage, it is much easier that way.

The wing construction is beefy and beautiful. At the wing tips there is I believe 5 layers of Dacron sewn on top of each other from different angles and that prevents flutter (not sure if Mark does it to prevent flutter in flight) but my wing doesn't flutter at all.

Third thing is Mark designs the wing with split rear wires now so if your trike is dual mast, the split wire can accommodate that.

Speaking of Mark Gibson, I had heard different opinions from different people, some tend to complain that his customer service was not good and I beg to differ there too...Quite frankly I found his service very good, he was good with answering questions and follow up as well. And he made me a wing exactly to my specs for about 2500 or 3000 less than what I would have with the competition wing.

Today I flew in absolutely no wind conditions at all (maybe 1 mile if that). Take of was eventless...I felt the take off distance was longer than my 19 meter Northwing. On all the take offs I pushed the bar out typically where my 19 meter took off. But I would still consider this a STOL capable wing, I will measure the exact distance later. In the air the wing was very easy to handle, very docile, it required gentle inputs.

Spot landing, now you will love this one, last time when Instructor Reb flew my trike with this wing, he informed me that I might need to get my carb cleaned and change the fuel filter because at full open throttle the rpms were dropping. He changed the fuel filter. Today before the flight, I did a lot of ground tests and everything seemed fine, so I took off, I must have crossed half of the runway and I felt some irregularity in rpms and it took me a few seconds to decide that I needed to land. For the amount of runway that was left in front of me, with a 19 meter Northwing, I would never have even attempted a landing at that point because my 19 meter even though a great wing (I use to call it a parachute) was a floater and took a little while coming down. I had heard that Manta wings are better at spot landings and don't have as much float so it was time to put it to test (mind you, even if I was not able to land within the runway length, it would not have hurt anything, because beyond the runway there is long flat dirt area so no biggie...but I had to land and even though I was high but not high enough to make a full u turn. Anyways I cut the throttle, bar all the way in my gut and wow...the wing obeyed my command and performed much better than my 19 meter or even my Wizard wing would have behaved). I was able to land way before the runway ended. I still feel that this 17 meter wing has some reasonable float. Besides I didn't want a wing with no float at all). and I kind of like it that way. This landing gave me a lot of confidence, I turned the trike around and took off again (there was no wind, so it didn't matter which end I was using) and landed at the end of the runway. Took off again and landed at the end of the runway, turned around took off and flew a circle and landed. Another circle and landed....there was some irregularity in the engine rpms so I decided to just hangar the trike and get the problem fixed. I found a mechanic and next weekend we will work on the carbs, pumps and even the throttle cable to find out why is there some irregularity.

Of course all of you want to know if there was a negative, to tell you the truth not really, but if I have to pick something I would say probably Gibbo could have a grip on the control bar. His control bar is just the tube. That is the only thing. It didn't bother me because I fly with gloves that have grips.

Once I have done more flights, I will share further views on this wing but I can say this for sure, if you are on budget and would like a wing that is great quality, flies great and is a good value for your dollar then this wing is the best choice.  If you are in Idaho and hold a sport pilot's license, I will even let you test fly mine, the reason I want to help out is that when I was looking to test fly a Gibbo wing, I couldn't find a single pilot in my area and I had to just take a leap of faith and buy the wing...thankfully, I don't regret my decision at all. And if you need help in making a decision, you are welcome to fly mine (with a Sport Pilot's License).




  • bee52

    What's a dual mad trike? I'm flat out flying with one, let alone two!!!???

  • bee52

    Sorry - mast

  • cburg

    It's an "A" frame config. We called them "twin-boom" in the late 70's. Then the "Cable Braced Mono-pole" trikes came out in the early 80's. There are still some dual mast trikes made today. I just sold a trike with a dual mast and my three Gibbo wings worked fine on them.

  • cburg


    You alluded to your wing’s “dive-ability”.  I have commented on this before.  I like this ability…some do not.

    I want a wing that…when I want to dive…I can.

    Some wings can dive and some wings can’t.  There’s another recent pilot report flying a Mako 15 and the new owner doesn’t like the wing's characteristics.

    It’s completely a matter of taste…there’s no right or wrong.

    I just like when I hear people like their new toys…whatever they are.  I know what it's like to not be able to demo something and find out after you buy it you don’t like your new toy.  I’ve had this happen to me many times.

    There was nothing wrong with a particular aircraft…I just didn’t like it.

    When my flying buddies tease me about my going through so many aircraft I just tell them “I didn’t love it”.  My philosophy is… “if you don’t love your toy…get rid of it.”  It’s one of the few areas in life where you can do that without guilt…and I do.  If I don’t LOVE IT…I sell it.

    So…I’m glad you love it.

  • RizzyWizzy

    bee52 just check the Northwing website and see the pictures of the Apache or Navajo trikes, they are dual mast trikes, I guess the advantage of the dual mast is that passenger's helmet won't hit the mast (like they do on single mast trikes) but the disadvantage can be that beacause of the width of the dual mast the wires coming from the control frame to the back of the trike can rub against the dual mast, so the solution to that is that is instead of attaching them to the same point and running the attachment bolt vertical. Mark (and other wing manufacturers run the attachement bolt horizontally so they can attach it to either side of the bolt). This is an attempt to make it wider so the wires don't rub with the dual mast. Hope that was a good explanation.

    Cburg, you are right about the wing's ability to dive but many wings sacrifice glide and with engine off they can be like bricks. My (Airborne) Streak wing was pretty good at it too but with Streak what I didn't like was that in a dive (since the wing was fast double surface wing) it covered a lot of area. Some people who have Orcas have mentioned that with power off the wing doesn't have a lot of glide and comes down pretty fast, I don't know if it is true or not (but I didn't want that for myself). What I liked about Manta 17 is that it has good glide so you are not coming down like a brick in a power out scenario but at the same time if you want to bring the trike down quick, it can do it too. The best way I can describe this Manta 17 wing is that it is a Wizard wing on steroids (I don't know if it makes any sense). The landing speed can be very slow. I believe most of my landings were around 26 miles (the Vne on this wing is I believe around 70). Even in a dive it comes down slower than any double surface wing and it doesn't cover a lot of distance which in hands of an expert pilot be a huge advantage when trying to spot land. So if someone is coming over a tree line and wants to put the bird down, I am confident that this wing will do a much better job at a much slower speed. Single surface wings are better at that than double surface any day. But by the same token Double surface are better at other things (such as flying in turbulence). I still have to test this wing in turbulent conditions and see how it performs.

    What wing to buy between a Manta 15 or 17. I did a lot of research, spoke to a lot of pilots who flew Manta wings and most of them said Manta 17. And when I compared the features, I learned that 15 and 17 have the same width (wingspan) but 17 obviously has a little bit more sail, so I went with 17 because if I am flying with anohter person I wanted to have the ability to do so with a bigger wing and my 60hp HKS 700 e motor. Mark Gibson thought I would be ok with the 15 (and probably I would have been) but I wanted to keep the wing as close in performance to the Northwing's 15 meter wing (without paying the Northwing price). And I feel a Manta 17 is a close match to a Northwing's 15 meter wing (you will save about 2500 or more depending on the offer in the purchase price).


    For most of you test flying a wing is the best way to judge if it is for you. I love slow wings and flights. I am anti super fast trikes of today (because speed kills) but your taste might be into fast birds (nothing wrong with that).



  • Sally Tucker aka Deafladyhawk

    I flew the Manta 17m wing and sort of like it.    It was only once (2 hours flying with it) before my accident.   Before that I flew NW 17m, I cannot tell the difference when I flew both.

  • cburg

    Thanks for the feedback.  My observations are similar.  As far as Gibbo’s wings…I’ve owned or demo-ed  the Butterfly 19 & 21 (as I recall), FS 19, Tiburon 10, Manta 12.5, 15 (land & water), 17, 19, Orca 12, Mako 15.  Like all the other manufactures, they each have their own traits that various people prefer...just like cars...no wrong answer if you like it.

    Sounds like you’ve made the right choice for your mission.