August 20, 2012
Ignition of a Flame Ray
by Mike Dallmer Jr.

My father and I have shared a passion for kites for a long time and are known for some of our unique creations. We also like to collect kites and have many types of kites from numerous people in our quiver of kites (read as overly packed kite trailer). As the years have passed not only has our passion for kites grown but also the size of them. One of our largest pieces is "What the Duck" which I designed and my dad and I made. But we are not limited to homemade creations and are always looking for a unique item to add to our collection.


One thing we always wanted in our collection was a Peter Lynn Manta Ray. Timing and funds were always a problem in the past but this year I really got the bug to acquire a Ray after seeing one in flight again at the Wildwood International Kite Festival. That weekend I also saw another kite that caught my eye and I was in awe of the coloring in the kite.


The kite was a foil made by Ben Huggett. His kite called "ColourCloud" used a diffused color effect. This effect uses the lighting of the sun and use of white and color fabrics to create a color blending effect.

For those not familiar with the effect it was accomplished in Ben's inception by using white fabric on the outer surfaces of the foil and the ribs of the foil use only 5 colors. When lit from behind by the sun, a smooth rainbow is apparent on the face of the kite.

Now with some inspiration I began to look at Manta Rays that were already produced by Peter Lynn, while perusing his site I found an image of a "tattoo" Ray that really started the wheels turning. Peter's site also stated that a "tattoo" ray could be created with whatever graphics a person wanted. Now looking at this I saw how the bottom skin of the "tattoo" Ray had a slight tinge of red from the upper sail I really started to think about designs. This quickly lead to old school hot rod flames which I have always admired. Although seemingly simple when done correctly they really create a great effect. I did a quick sketch in paint to see what a flame Ray combined with the diffused color effect would look like and I was sold on the idea.


The final leg of this required a call to David Gomberg to inquire about the possibility of having my idea brought to fruition.

After a quick call and some emails back and forth between myself, David and the Peter Lynn workshop, the ball got rolling. David instantly liked the concept and some of the emails indicated the same by the Peter Lynn camp.

As everyone I mentioned this concept to all had a similar reaction, I had no choice but to pull the trigger and commission David to have the "Flame" Ray produced.

Being impatient, I began to pester my dad about creating a kite for the "Flame" Ray and he found a plan for a 6m2 pilot posted by Peter Lynn that we hadn't made yet and was the perfect size for a large Ray. After looking at our inventory of fabric one thing became apparent, although we have hundreds of yards of fabric in the kite workshop we had a shortage of white and black fabric to create a matching pilot. So order fabric I did. In the mean time I did find some scraps of black and white that were perfect for a quick appliqué test.


I did a quick flame appliqué and it turned out great. I decided to experiment a little with some design master paints we had on hand and the results were good. The paint idea was a backup plan in case the diffused color effect was less then desired. After making the flame pilot and the first flight in the sun the paint idea completely disappeared as the color diffusion of fabric alone was great

We had a South Jersey Kite Flyers club fly in Brigantine, NJ where Ben got to see the flame pilot that he helped inspired, he had rave reviews for it. At this point the only thing I had left to do was wait for the Ray from the Peter Lynn workshop. David did forward me a layout of the flames that Simon Chisnall had on a full size pattern for the lower skin of the Ray. He had incorporated some ideas I hadn't thought of and it made me want to see the finished product even more.

Test Flight

While waiting for delivery of the kite I had a family vacation that I really wanted the kite for as we have a great flying beach for kites. One day while enjoying my vacation my phone indicated I had an email and at that point I got to see a photo of the test flight of the "Flame" Ray.


This is where I probably bothered David a little too much as I was trying to figure out how to get the kite while on vacation. The kite was shipped next day from New Zealand and in a twist of fate I was called into work from my vacation. Although I probably would have driven the two hours home from vacation to get the kite, it became a real convenience to stop at home after work to get the kite on my way back to vacation. Needless to say UPS read my note on the front door and when I got done work there was a package waiting for me at my house.

I tossed the box in the back of my truck and headed back to the beach where the rest of the dallmer clan were enjoying the sun and dad just happened to be flying a pair of Gomberg flying fish.

We yanked the fish out of the air to make room for the Ray as the wind just happened to be the right direction up the beach for it to fit. The winds were a little strong for a first flight but I couldn't help myself and hooked the bridle to our anchor. The Ray took it first breaths and began to get life as we spread it across the beach. It quickly inflated and took flight. As we were admiring the Ray, I watched as numerous people on the beach popped out their cameras and took pictures of it. We brought the Ray down after about 10 minutes as we didn't have a pilot and the winds were approaching 25 mph.

The next morning we hit the beach early and I couldn't wait to try the Flame Ray in a more reasonable wind. I got out the Flame Pilot we made and after about 50 feet attached the top line of the Ray to the flying line. The winds were light and it took a little time to inflate the Ray. Once inflated it rose into the air and we watched to see how it would fly. I probably left another 100 feet of line out and left the kite park for a couple of hours. The entire time the kite was in the air we saw people walking the beach to find out what was going on. Some people walked at least a mile to see the kite. There was nothing but compliments and photos of the kite from all the beach goers.

First Flight

Now I am back from vacation with a picture of the kite on my work monitor which will tease me until the next time I have a chance to fly the Ray. I am looking forward to the next festival we are able to attend to give the "Flame" Ray another chance to shine

Flame Ray Flame Ray Flame Ray

The Dallmer’s new Ray could not have turned out better! And we’re delighted to have helped create it for this wonderful kite flying family.

No – I’m not going to make you one just like it. Mike deserves to proudly fly the first Flame Ray for a while before we fill the sky with more of them. Maybe I’ll make the second one for myself!

What I can do is offer you or traditional PL Ray for 20% off the list price between now and September 15. Choose the 20 footer for $300 or the 48 footer for $925 and ask for the Dallmer Discount.


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