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Factual review of the GibboGear Mako 15.
First let me start by introducing myself. I am a fairly high time trike pilot and an advanced rated hang glider pilot, I am also an avid foot-launched hang glider pilot.
Here is a video of me flying:
I recently bought a GibboGear Mako 15 wing from Mark Gibson. After realizing the wing does not perform anywhere near the way Mark Gibson told me it would, and receiving a lot of questions about the wing I have decided to post this review.
The first issue I have is with fit and finish. After a search
around the Internet I found out that the Mako was originally
built with the downtubes mounted further back during its
experimental phase. Gibson sent me a sail from his first drafts
of the wing with the new frame so the sail can’t zip up all the
way, this leads it to coming un-zipped mid-flight unless it is
zip-tied shut! I didn’t volunteer to be a test pilot, and Gibson
never told me about this before he sent me the Mako 15.
The next issue I had was with the wings power off glide. BEFORE I bought the wing I explained to Mark Gibson that power off glide was important to me. He quoted me a power off glide of 7:1, with a 400fpm sink rate, here is a quote from his email to me:
70 mph at this setting.....its not a problem landing with power off....power off glide is around 7 to 1.....sink rate is around 400 fpm.
My guess for shipping is 7 to 8 hundred.
In actuality the wing has a sink rate of 1300ft/minute and a glide ratio of 3 to 1 to maybe 5 to 1. This is a very drastic difference and this fact alone would have lead me to buy another wing…especially since this wing touches down at 45 knots with a single 150 pound passenger!
I also made it clear that carrying a passenger was important to me. Gibson told me it was no problem and that the wing could carry “two Big Ol Texas boys” no problem with a 582 (recorded phone conversation) in the SAME trike I have…he did send me pictures of it flying in my same trike model. In reality the Mako 15 struggles to climb out of a 4000 foot runway with me (150lbs) and my friend (180lbs) at 6700 rpm with fresh 582 climbing at 150-250ft/min!!! DANGEROUS…see height of climb out with passenger in video!! It needed 6000 rpm to hold level flight! By way of comparison we put my buddies Streak 2b wing on my trike and it climbed out at 800ft/min and held level flight at 5300 rpm with the same passenger and me!
I made it clear to Gibson that I needed to be able to fly out of a 600-foot strip landing strip. He told me that wouldn’t be a problem, but knowing him like I do now I realize he skirted the question here is a quote from the email:
How does it climb out?
Will I be able to climb out of little 600-foot long back country airstrips with it?
How does it handle in slow flight?
What you have to consider is the windows a wing like this opens for you.....it is very high performance. ...it handle extremely easy...it can be flown in and out of the same area a regular wing can be....Mark
Well actually, Mark it closes doors for me because It needs 800-feet to get off the ground and clear a 50-foot obstacle! And with a passenger it probably needs 1500-feet (didn’t have the guts to measure that one). Now I can’t land at 3 of my favorite airstrips (including my home strip) unless I want come out on a trailer…or an ambulance! I live at basically the lowest density altitude in the US!!
Here is the true stats on the wing:
Level flight with 582 and 150 pound pilot only: 56Knotts at 5500rpm
Climb Rate with 582 and 150 pound pilot only: 750ft/minute
Power off glide: 3-5:1 depending on bar position
Sink rate power off with 150 pound pilot only 1200-1300ft/minute
Takeoff distance with 582 and 150 pound pilot only: 600-feet
Max speed bar stuffed with 582 and 150 pound pilot only: 65 Knotts
Climb rate with 582 and 150 pound pilot+180 pound passenger:150-250ft/minute 6100RPM needed for level flight
The wing is easy to fly and land. It has heavy bar pressures in pitch. It is a bit heavier in roll than a Streak 2b, wizard, Profi, and Quest Gt5 but not bad.
The Mako handles turbulence well, but not as well as a Streak 2b, Profi, or quest GT 5 (all tested on my trike-friends wings).
I think the reduced span is really a gimmick. All it really does is decrease glide ratio and increase the amount of power needed to fly. It did perform well in turbulence but no better than other popular double surface wings with traditional spans.
I did some 300-mile cross country trips with it and it did ok, it is pretty fast and easy to land provided you have a good landing strip. The high rpm’s required to fly it means it sucks a lot of gas…which closes more doors. It handles ok, not as good as other high performance double surfaces in turbulence or headwind, but it is also a lot cheaper.
Frame seems to be built very solid.
I tried to get my money back from Gibson, even offered to pay shipping back to him. Wing is still in perfect shape. He wouldn’t go for that. He did send me a free pitch block but I can’t use it and it doesn’t fix my problem. He offered to send me a new sail too, but rescinded that after I posted a review on line. When I started posting reviews online he deleted me from his yahoo forum so others couldn’t read what I have to say. I have been contacted by several Orca owners that have had problems too.
Now for the pitch block.
I also received a pitch block with this wing. Mark Gibson sent it to me for free when I started voicing my dislike of his business practices. I can’t use it because the mechanic that does my annuals took one look at it and wouldn’t sign it off (he is a mechanical engineer by trade so I trust him). It came with an aborted hole drilled in it (weakens it) and requires ~1.5-iches of spacers (that I had to build) to get it to fit on the mast. I tried it, it made the wing handle easier (almost as easy as a Streak 2b wing) but it is unsafe so it is in the trash now.
Just want others to know what they are getting into with this wing if they buy it.
Here is some other info for what its worth;
My trike is a 582 blue head with the E Box 3.47.
Wings I have borrowed and compared to the Mako (flown on my trike) with no problems: Aeros Profi, Streak2b, Quest GT5 (Awesome BTW). Also I have flown Strangers, Wizards, Mavericks, all with great results.
I am 100% sure my Mako is set up correctly (it is not that hard), I tried other CG (hang points) within Gibbo’s recommendations, but its initial hang point was the best.
We attached it to a few other trikes: a Northwing with HKS (need more power), another Edge X 582 it flew just like mine (same results), and an outback with a 503, it needed 55-5700rpm for level flight didn’t try a passenger..just wasn’t worth it, but it was lighter so it had a 1000ft/minute sink rate. The wing did do pretty good with an XT912 but it still was working harder than usual with a passenger.
Recently, there have been a number of comments that EVERYONE is pushing EVERYBODY into expensive, high power, fast trikes. I would like to set the record straight as to my feeling about this.
Does everyone need an expensive, high power, fast trike? Simply… NO.
Here is my story about my decisions to buy the trikes I bought.
I first put a trike undercarriage on my modified hang glider in 1981. A Fugi Robins engine. About 30 HP. Not much. It would barely get off the ground at 5000 foot density altitude but it was awesome to get flying in a trike. I had a great time with this. Fast forward to 2001.
I decided to buy a two place trike since my wife/girlfriend wanted to go up and move on from Hang Gliding. It was allot of money so I economized bought a Cosmos 503 (verses a 582) because it was light weight, less expensive, and I liked the wing. Soon after I got it I flew this slow Rotax 503 on a cross country from Carson, down the Sierras, up to Mount Whitney 14,000 and the trike Odyssey was filmed.
I flew this slow, underpowered trike to 17,000 feet, flew 250 pound students to 10,000 MSL regularly, trained many pilots. Did I need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO.
Than in 2010, the FAA cracked down and my experimental was no longer allowed to be used for flight training. I waited for the LODA. Nothing. So I decided to buy a trike. By this time everyone was flying the 80 HP Rotax 912 and EVERYONE is pushing EVERYBODY into these more expensive, high power, fast trikes. I simply could not afford a 912 so I bought an Apollo Monsoon 582 S-LSA when I decided to go into trike flying full time.
Again, I would fly it to 10,000 feet with 250 pound students, etc…. I was making a living at flight instruction in a Rotax 582. Did I need a need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO. However, it is a 14.5 meter stiff wing and had wind turbulence limitations. I had to shut down training earlier than I wanted.
After 3 years and my third Rotax 582 engine which operated great all the time, I wanted a smaller wing that I could blast through the bumps with an easy handling wing I could increase my flight hours since I had to turn many flights down when the wind came up and it got bumpy during the day.
If I had a smaller wing, I could fly more hours and everyone would be happier. Bottom line, a smaller wing needs more horsepower . So after 3 years of flying full time I decided to sell my great Apollo Monsoon 582 and go to a 912S so I can get a smaller wing.
OK which trike? Here are the reasons why I choose a Revo, generally in the order of importance which helped my decision:
Topless small wings.
Easy to get in and out of loading and unloading people (similar to my Apollo Monsoon)
Easy handling/response for ease of flying and safety/recovery in the bumps
Almost everyone who calls and asks about buying a trike wants a Revo.
Super sexy looking.
Made in the USA with easy parts/great service.
Did I have to have an expensive Revo? No but it allows me to fly comfortably is more bumpy and windy conditions.
In fact we have a number of 503, 582, and 912 80 HP trikes at the airport here and the pilots are very happy with them.
Again. Do they need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO. Not if you can live with the limitations.
However, if you can afford a trike and you want to climb faster, get there quicker, fly in stronger conditions and be more comfortable overall, spend as much as you can and get the trike you want. You basically get what you pay for.
Here is the page where the Chapter can be downloaded:
Yesterday I hid some of the worst turbulence I have hit in a long time. It was unexpected. Overall light winds predicted. I took off 7:30 AM for a morning flight with an intro student. Climbed to 10,000 in glass calm air. A few rain drops but not much. Headed north for about 15 miles and started my descent. By this time the student was controlling the aircraft and doing a great job of it.
My hands were off the bar. At about 8,000 feet, to my surprise, airspeed drops and we stall, wing rises. I grabbed the bar to pull in and level the wing than hit with a gust and the airspeed jumps to 80. Wow. This lasted about 2000 feet in a descent until it got glass calm again. I headed back to the airport and was going to go south announcing over the radio my intentions and one of my previous students announced over the radio hit had just hit severe turbulence where I was going. Flew back to the airport, did a couple of touch and goes in nice calm air and landed.
What happened? I fly many days when the sky looks the same.
However, this morning there were some fresh cumulus above the
cloud layer in the distance. Looking in greater detail at the
winds aloft I see there was a --- Rapid temperature drop:
unstable air possible ---- note on the winds aloft. It was 10 C
from 6000 to 9000. That is 3.3 C per 1000 feet. This is highly
unusual. 2 C per 1000 feet is the normal lapse rate. In my
weather to fly video I say that 3 c is highly unstable and 4 c is
Looking back after we landed I saw virga in that general area where the severe turbulence happened
Moral of the story is that stability matters and at these numbers above 3 C per 1000 feet it can affect you during the early morning.
Thought this would be a helpful subject for all 912 owners.
At 6000 feet MSL, 95 degrees F max continuous my oil temperature is at 250 F using Aeroshell plus 4, and CHT at 250 with Dexcool 50/50. This is within limits but higher than I want.
I was told by a very reliable source who has a similar installation (you may identify yourself if you want but I know you want a low profile), that if I add AMSOIL Coolant Boost to my 50/50 Dexcool system, I will get 10 to 10 degrees drop in coolant temperature.
I was also told that if I go to the AmsOil motorcycle 10/40 fully synthetic oil I will get a 10-20 degree drop in oil temperature and that the AmsOil is better overall when running only auto/MOGAS.
Any words of wisdom or experience with these two cooling enhancements? I am pretty much going to do them since it makes sense.
Will running at these temperatures lower the life of the engine?
SilverLight Aviation will be flying both a Delta Jet II SLSA and an AG1 gyroplane to the airshow.
We are displaying in the Ultralight Area (Barn) booth: 909. Come and see why these aircraft are the best values in the business.
I think this warrants a blog space. I read this petition and signed it because among many things, it asks for fair representation of pilots. This is your chance to do so as well. It is one thing to sit out and do nothing about an Issue or you can after reading the petition (if you agree with the message) support it. I think in all important decisions that impact our sport, all of us should have a fair representation.
SilverLight Aviation's version of the Delta Jet-II trike will get its S-LSA US Light Sport Aircraft certificate in the coming few days.
SilverLight uses the carriage skeleton body sub-assembly from Halley factory in Hungary who has been partnered with us for over 9 years but that is where the similarities end.
The trike carriage is QA'ed to our specs and assembled at Zephyrhills, FL near Tampa. The wiring and avionics are designed and installed here, along with the powerplant installation. The props offered are the Aero prop or the upgrade to Sterna prop. Props are mounted with a 4" spool spacer to give plenty of clearance between the prop blades and wheelpant fins.
Full instructor package with back foot throttle and back
instructor foot brake pedal and wing control bars is available as
an option. Foot pedals are adjustable for up to 3.5 inches.
Trike carriage is available with standard 4 x 8.50 round profile tires with 3-wheel hydraulic disc brakes as standard or optionally with Turf Glide Tundra tires with a different wheel and brake package also with 3-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. These can also fit 6 x 6.00 aircraft tires.
Fuel tank is TIG welded 5000 series Aluminum of 14.5 useable gallons with fuel pickups with coarse filter strainers in it. Backup electrical fuel pump is standard. Two bags can fit under front seat and are provided as standard. Additional bags to go on landing gear fairings are optional. Leaf spring Aluminum landing gear gives nice soft suspention yet strong enough to take the hits.
The wing is called CHEVAL 12 and is specially developed by SilverLight Aviation and purpose fitted to Delta Jet-II trike with electric trim system. You cannot get this wing from anywhere else except from us. It has a speed range from 42 mph to 115 mph with cruise speed between 55 mph to 95 mph hands off. These are close to real calibrated speed numbers not just what you see on the airspeed indicator. You won't be going in one direction and have a headwind and then turn 180 degrees and have a headwind still or at best not a tailwind anywhere near what you should see indicating bad installation/position errors in pitot/static system. Stall is almost non-existent in un-accelerated flight. In accelerated (turning) flight stalls are mild and easily controlled with no huge tendency to suddenly drop a wing tip hard.
The main thing about the wing is its sweet handling. Whether you
are flying in smooth morning conditions, catching a sunset flight
or flying at noon in mild to moderate convection. The wing gives
a feeling of confidence and its light controls even 2-up with
full fuel give you easy corrections to upset from its track. The
wing absorbs turbulence and allows the pilot time to respond to
turbulence with ease, giving a feeling of confident
In gliding flight, one can turn the wing to a medium bank and it has no tendency to roll into the turn further nor come out of the turn. With power application, due to torque turn to thr right tends to indeed roll in a little as expected which is easily stopped with a very slight pressure. During even steeper turns (45to 60 degrees bank), there isn't a need to push the bar out beynd a few inches (exxagerated J-maneuver) or high side (oppose turning in) excessively.
Wing uses winglets as well as micro vortex generators for
expanding efficiency (converts a part of the induced drag into
thrust), speed range and improving tracking at very high cruise
It uses a cross span band of re-inforced PX mylar fabric to control washout at load and speed and also a re-inforced dacron and mylar trailing edge. The control frame is tall giving extra leverage to the pilot which means less control force. Leading edge is PX or mylar with extra re-inforcement at the root for clean leading edge at the root.
Whether you want a 2.5 second 60 degree bank to 60 degree bank or
a 65 mph leisure flight at 2.5 gallons per hour or a 98 mph cross
country flight eating those miles up quickly, Delta Jet-II with
Cheval 12 wing delivers.
This wing will be available to existing Apollo 912 or 912ULS powered trikes for upgrade if the customers wish with full documentation and records to keep their S-LSA status.
The aircraft is powered by Rotax 912ULS 100 HP engine. An engine with a ton of reliable history behind it and a standard in light sport aircraft. We have so far avoided the complexity of Rotax 912iS which though fuel injected new version of 912ULS is still in development and not matured yet. Besides its heavier, relies on batteries and more expensive. Once 912iS matures and Rotax settles on its final design, we expect to offer 912iS engine as well. Right now the fuel savings gained from 912iS alone are not justifiable by its extra cost, extra weight and complexity. The gain in fuel efficiency in 912iS is balanced by its extra installation weight because you can carry that extra fuel with 912ULS.
Through load and flight testing the gross weight is selected to be 1125 pounds. Maximum empty weight with all options including BRS (Ballistic Recovery System whole aircraft parachute, pull a handle and a rocket fires a parachute that brings the whole aircraft down slowly and safely) is 583 pounds. This gives a minimum useful load 542 pounds which is almost the empty weight of the trike without BRS. So in effect the aircraft can carry its own weight.
PERFORMANCE: (at ISA sea level unless otherwise noted)
Speed Range: 42 - 115 mph, Cruise: 55 - 95 mph (at 3000 feet)
Glide Ratio: 10:1 @ 51 mph
Climb Rate : 1350 feet/min (one up), 1050 feet/min at gross weight
Ground Roll: 300 feet
Take-off to clear 50 foot obstacle (tarmac): 750 feet
Stall at gross weight: 42 mph
Stall at 825 pounds (one - up): 36 mph
Approach speed recommended: 60 - 65 mph