Ballooning's only Triple Crown winner dies Web Staff
May 19, 2017 10:22 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Hot air balloon legend David Levin recently died at his home in Colorado. He was 68.


Levin won the World Hot Air Balloon Championship in 1985 followed by the Gas Balloon Championship in 1992. Later that year, he won the Gordon Bennett Cup distance race, making him the only pilot to even win ballooning's Triple Crown.

Mark Sullivan with the Balloon Fiesta remembers Levin as someone who was a joy to fly with.

"We had a good time flying in these events," he said. "They were at times, kind of terrifying, but we always had a good time."

He survived a dangerous situation during the 1995 Gordon Bennett race when he and two other American teams drifted from Poland into Belarus. One balloon was shot down. Levin and the other pilots were forced to land and briefly held prisoner.

Levin was inducted into the U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame in Albuquerque two years ago.

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