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Manta Products Foxbat / Fledge III / FX-3


The Foxbat/FIedge III was a single-seat single-engined high-wing mono-plane with hybrid control. An American ultralight aircraft that was designed by Bill Armour and produced by Manta Products Inc of Oakland, California. The aircraft was supplied as a kit for amateur construction.

The Foxbat was designed to comply with the US FAR 103 Ultralight Vehicles rules, including the category's maximum empty weight of 254 lb (115 kg). The aircraft has a standard empty weight of 200 lb (91 kg). It features a cable-braced high-wing, a single-seat, open cockpit, tricycle landing gear and a single engine in pusher configuration. Undercarriage has three wheels in tricycle formation; steel-spring suspension on nosewheel and glass-fibre sus-pension on main wheels. Push-right go-left (push-right go-right optional) nosewheel steer-ing independent from yaw control. Brakes on main wheels. Wing has swept back leading and trailing edges, and tapering chord; no tail. Wing braced from above by kingpost and cables, from below by cables; 90% double-surface.

The aircraft is made from bolted-together 6061T6 aluminum tubing, with the wing covered in Dacron sailcloth. Its 32.5 ft (9.9 m) span wing is supported by cables strung from an inverted V style kingpost. The wing is derived from the Manta Fledge hang glider wing. The control system is unconventional and uses a hang glider style control bar for weight shift control of pitch and roll, augmented with wing tip rudders for yaw, activated by hand controls on the control bar. The fuselage is an open frame structure that is attached to the wing via a flexible single point mount, to allow weight shift control. The pilot is accommodated on a sling seat in trike unit, using bar to control pitch and roll by altering relative positions of trike unit and wing. Yaw control by tip rudders operated by control-bar sliders. The landing gear is of tricycle configuration, with a steerable nose wheel.

Strictly speaking, this machine is not a trike, since it does not use a Rogallo wing, but in essence it is the same concept: a combination of a hang-glider with a power pack/seating/undercarriage unit. In this case, the hang-glider is Manta's own rigid-wing hybrid-control Fledge III rather than a Rogallo, combined with the purpose- designed Foxbat 'trike unit'. A feature of the Foxbat is its geared-down nosewheel steering, which allows the pilot to keep the nosewheel firmly on course during rough-field take-offs and landings.

Manta Products announced in January 1983 the adoption for the Foxbat of the Kawasaki TA440A 38.5 hp engine. Previous-ly these aircraft had been equipped in standard form with the Cuyuna 430D or on option a 430R or Zenoah G25B (22 hp) engine with a reduction drive of 2.25/1.

The pilot is comfortably installed in a bucket seat and the four semi-rigid tie-in points of the trike unit to the sail act as a shock absorber. The options include electric start, a three-blade variable pitch propeller, a wider body with larger seat, floats and a strobe light. Price complete is $5360 in 1982.
No longer in production.

The Foxbat wing can be folded for ground transport and storage.


Fledge III
Initial model, developed from the Manta Fledge hang glider

Model powered by Cuyuna 430 of 30 hp (22 kW) or a Zenoah G-25 of 20 hp (15 kW)

Model powered by a Kawasaki 440 of 38 hp (28 kW)

Engine: Kawasaki TA440A, 38.5 hp at 6000 rpm.
Toothed-belt reduction, ratio 2.0/1.
Power per unit area 0.24hp/sq.ft, 2.6hp/sq.m.
Fuel capacity 5.0 US gal, 4.2 Imp gal, 18.9 litre.
Length overall 10.0 ft, 3.05 m.
Height overall 6.0ft, 1.83m.
Wing span 33.5ft, 10.21m.
Chord at root 5.8ft, 1.75 m.
Chord at tip 4.6 ft, 1.40 m.
Sweepback 16 deg.
Total wing area 157 sq.ft, 14.6sq.m.
Wing aspect ratio 6.7/1.
Wheel track 5.2 ft, 1.57 m.
Wheelbase 6.0ft, 1.83 m.
Main wheels diameter overall 20 inch, 51 cm.
Empty weight 215 lb, 98kg.
Max take-off weight 549 lb, 249kg.
Payload 334 lb, 151kg.
Max wing loading 3.50 lb/sq.ft, 17.1 kg/sq.m.
Max power loading 14.3 lb/hp, 6.5 kg/hp.
Max level speed 55 mph, 88 kph.
Never exceed speed 55 mph, 88 kph.
Max cruising speed 45 mph, 72 kph.
Economic cruising speed 35 mph, 56 kph.
Stalling speed 22 mph, 35 kph.
Max climb rate at sea level 425 ft/min, 2.2 m/s.
Min sink rate 300ft/min, 1.5m/s.
Best glide ratio with power off 9/1.
Take-off distance 75 ft, 23 m.
Landing distance 50 ft, 15 m.
Range at average cruising speed 130 mile, 209km.


Engine: 1 × Cuyuna 430 , 30 hp (22 kW)
Propellers: 2-bladed wooden
Length: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Wingspan: 32 ft 6 in (9.91 m)
Wing area: 157 sq ft (14.6 sq.m)
Empty weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Gross weight: 425 lb (193 kg)
Wing loading: 2.7 lb/sq ft (13 kg/m²)
Fuel capacity: 5 U.S. gallons (19 lt / 4.2 imp gal)
Cruise speed: 35 mph (30 kt / 56 km/h)
Stall speed: 22 mph (19 kt / 35 km/h)
Range: 100 mi (87 nmi / 161 km)
Endurance: 2.75
Maximum glide ratio: 12:1
Rate of climb: 400 ft/min (2.0 m/s)
Crew: one


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