Kite Flying, Kiting

Made by Heloise Herself: 250ft White Bird Kites Friendly Dragon

2021 has been an AMAZING year for finding some one-of-a-kind kites. In this case, likely, two of a kind...

Founded as a cottage industry by Chris and Heloise Lochman, White Bird Kites ended its 30-year run in 2002, but not before Heloise crafted this extraordinary custom 250ft Friendly Dragon for Rick in Boston that same year. By chance, Rick and I connected earlier this year, and he offered up the kite along with a couple of others he was ready to pass along.

I’d admired White Bird Kites for quite some time and, in prior years, picked up their 25ft Lion dragon kite and the Ariel Sun, Moon and Stars kite. White Bird designs are simply stunning. And as you might imagine, they’re highly collectible for their beauty and construction. But did you know the business existed as just one of a handful of cloth kite makers in the U.S.?

We only ever made one or two kites longer than that (150ft).

Heloise Lochman

Heloise and I connected by phone in September. I had so many questions about the 250ft Friendly Dragon and White Bird Kites in general that we continued our conversation over email, and Heloise very kindly shared the following:

October 16, 2021

“…The first rainbow dragon kite was created around 1972 and sold at a street fair in San Francisco. It was 25′ long, more or less. After we met Dinesh Bahadur and began supplying his beautiful store, ‘Come Fly a Kite’. This dragon kite was very popular and we added a 35’er, with a more elaborate applique on the head, which continued into the first panel of the tail, then a 55’er, which had a bigger diameter framing material and ferrules for easy transport…

Chris and Heloise Lochman

“I don’t remember exactly when the 150’er came out, but I remember making one in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial. We still have that kite, which starts out with a statue of liberty / American Indian face on the head and continues down the tail with red and white striped buntings and stars on blue…

“We only ever made one or two kites longer than that, as we were concerned about the ability of the head size to lift more tail…”

In mid-October, I found the wind and space I was looking for. I outfitted the kite with some slightly narrower spars on this particular day, and it flew beautifully in winds up to 27 mph.

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7 thoughts on “Made by Heloise Herself: 250ft White Bird Kites Friendly Dragon”

  1. Hello from Singapore! I enjoyed watching your videos and are really awesome. Recently, I p8cked up flying again and bought 2 soft kites namely,16sqm Trilobite and 20m Octopus kites,bith designed by Mr Ma Qinghua crim China. Can I know where you bought the big nail ground anchor? Thanks and good wind!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Michael – that’s a very nice 250 footer. I’ve been looking for a 150 footer with not much luck.
    We have a beautiful box kite (Sun/moon/cloud) by Heloise from 1979. My parents bought it new in Chincoteague, VA. It really is quite a statement to the creativity and style of her designs. I fly it ever year at the Delaware beaches or on the National Mall. The kite is 40+ years old and I always get nice compliments.
    Nice to hear White Bird Kites story from your interviews and correspondence.

    Like

    1. Hi Michael – I have a bunch of pictures of it. Interesting story, we had it for probably 30 years before we knew it was a White Bird Kite, Heloise signed it and stated it was “67/200”. No tag indicating it was a White Bird is on it, or the name of the kite.

      I finally found out it was a White Bird after I kept searching the Internet for “Heloise and kites”. Then I found kites that looked like the same designer and found the Facebook group for White Bird which is very cool. Then I figured out what I had. I’ll post it there in the next week or two.

      Obviously, I can send you pictures to your email address.

      Like

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