This is an inflatable soft-kite originally made by Peter Lynn. It is sold in three different sizes, prizes vary from around 1.000 DM to about 8.000 DM for the biggest Manta. Sizes vary from about 5m long to approx. 27m long.
The kite consist of the body and the tail. Front and back panel of the body are made of 196 nearly rectangular patches each. The two panels are connected via 18 profiles. The air-inlet consist of 6 gaze-patches. On the back panel there are two eyes, on the front panel there are additional black stripes attached which should indicate the gills.
The tail is made of patches of the same size as the body and additional about 14 conical parts which produce the necessary drag to stabilize the whole biest.
The bridle consist of about 80 bridle lines which are organised in two groups and afterwards connected to one central bridle point.
The Manta is said to be rather unstable (this is information that I got from the owner of a 27m Manta), although I have already seen some smaller Mantas which were rather stable and also my own Manta is flying rather stable. Although the Octopus is much more common as the Manta I like the 27m version of it as much as the octopus.
It seems that Peter has changed some of the construction details and also the colors he uses for the big Manta just recently. On Fano I saw Peter trying to make a Manta fly where the air inlet was much bigger and the black stripes on the front panel had vanished (I said "Peter tried" because due to the very strong wind, a 1 ton flying line broke at least two times...)Andrew Notes: The Manta comes in 3 sizes: Mini, Midi and Maxi. The one that was at Fano'94 was even bigger than the Maxi, and was cristened "Big Ben" by the workshop (without Peter's approval). I recall 2 failures to fly it at Fano. The first time, the line (rated at not at 1000kg, but at 2000kg, I believe) broke when trying to use the Manta to lift the condom. On the second attempt, the "fuse" part of the bridle broke as designed (the line that links the two half bridles together is designed to fail before the strain becomes sufficient to rip the ~=80 bridles from the skin. As for the issue of colour, I think that the choice of colour is largely guided by the assortment of scraps available for cutting into the lozenge-shapes required for the patchwork...