David Levin (June 10, 1948 – May 13, 2017)

David Levin (1948 - 2017)David is the only balloon pilot to have won both the Hot Air and Gas Balloon World Championships and he completed the “triple crown” of ballooning by winning the prestigious Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett in 1992. He has also won the U.S. National Championships in both Gas and Hot Air. Other wins include the 1988 Trans-Australia Balloon Challenge, 1990 Canadian Open National Championship, 1994 Alpine Balloon Trophy in Austria and the 1996 America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race in Albuquerque. His last win was the 2000 America’s Challenge with a flight of 1,998 miles, flying from Albuquerque to Gorham, Maine in 66 hours. David retired from balloon competition after the World Air Games in Seville, Spain in 2001.

David started ballooning in 1976 as co-owner of The Balloon Ranch in Colorado. He now has almost 5,000 hours logged in balloons including more than 1,200 hours in gas balloons. He is a private investor living in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Roberta and their twins, Matthew and Rebecca. David graduated from Boston University with degrees in Business Administration and Law.

David has served as Chairman of the BFA Gas Division and member of the Board of Directors of the BFA Hot Air Competition Division. He is the current alternate delegate to the CIA (FAI Balloon Commission). In 1992 he received the FAI Montgolfier Diploma for achievement in Gas Ballooning and again in 2010 for Major Contributions to the Sport. David received the BFA Shields-Trauger Memorial Award in 2009 for Outstanding Contributions to the BFA.

David served as U.S. National Championship Event Director from 2002 to 2008 and 2011. He directed the 2008 World Championship in Hofkirchen, Austria, the 2009 World Air Games in Mondovi, Italy and the 2012 World Championship in Battle Creek, Michigan. In addition to his work in the balloon world, David serves on the Boards of Ignite Adaptive Sports in Boulder, Colorado and the Boulder Jewish Community Center. In winter, David teaches adaptive skiing to people with various disabilities in the Ignite Program at Eldora Mountain Resort. David enjoys Skiing, Paragliding, Golf, Hiking and Scuba Diving. His favorite past times are ballooning and paragliding in the Alps with friends and spending time with his family.


  • B.S. in Business Administration, Boston University, 1971
  • J.D. in Law, Boston University 1975
  • L.L.M. in Taxation, Boston University 1976


  • Started ballooning in 1976 as co-owner of The Balloon Ranch in Colorado. (a full service resort featuring hot air ballooning)
  • Flight Experience: approx. 4,800 hours (1,100 in gas). 2,400 flights (62 in gas)
  • Attended all Gas and Hot Air Balloon World Championships since 1985.
  • Attended U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships since 1978 – 2011
  • Attended sixteen Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennetts since 1985


  • 1992 F.A.I. Diplome Montgolfier for Gas Ballooning.
  • 1996 C.I.A. Gold Sporting Badge with three diamonds.
  • 2009 BFA Shields Trauger Award for service to the BFA
  • 2010 F.A.I. Diplome Montgolfier for major contribution to the sport of ballooning.


  • * 1985 World Hot Air Balloon Championship, Battle Creek, MI USA
  • 1988 Trans-Australia Bicentennial Balloon Challenge
  • 1989 U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship, Baton Rouge
  • 1990 Canadian Open Championship (pre-Worlds) St. Jean sur Richelieu
  • * 1992 World Gas Balloon Championship, Obertraun, Austria
  • ** 1992 Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1994 BP Alpine Balloon Trophy, Zell am See, Austria
  • 1996 & 2000 America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, Albuquerque, NM
  • 1987, 1989 & 1993 U.S. National Gas Balloon Championship

* Only competitor to win both Gas and Hot Air Balloon World Champioship
** Completed “triple crown” of ballooning with Gordon Bennett win.


  • 1977 First Balloon over Pikes Peak (14,400 ft) Colorado
  • 1995 Flight to 33,425 ft in standard Balloon Works AX-8
  • 2000 Gas Flight of 1,998 miles. Albuquerque to Coast of Maine


  • 2003 – 2008 Event Director, U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships
  • 2003 Steward, European Hot Air Balloon Championship, Vilnius,Lithuania
  • 2004 Deputy Director, Mol Cup (Pre-Europeans), Hungary Steward, World Hot Air Balloon Championship. Mildura, Australia
  • 2005 Deputy Director, European Hot Air Balloon Championship, Hungary Event Director, Dutch National Hot Air Balloon Championship
  • 2006 Steward, World Hot Air Balloon Championship, Motegi, Japan
  • 2007 Steward, European Hot Air Balloon Championship, Magdeburg, Germany
  • 2008 Event Director, World Hot Air Balloon Championship, Hofkirchen, Austria
  • 2009 Event Director, World Air Games, Mondovi, Italy
  • 2010 Deputy Director, World Hot Air Balloon Championship, Debrecen, Hungary
  • 2011 Event Director, U.S. National Championship and Pre-Worlds, Battle Creek, MI
  • 2012 Event Director, World Hot Air Balloon Championship, Battle Creek, MI
  • 2013 Event Director, Australian National Hot Air Balloon Championship, Canowindra, NSW, Australia

source: FAI Biography of David Levin, Director

9 thoughts on “David Levin (June 10, 1948 – May 13, 2017)

  1. Karl Schaefer

    What a special man, we need to be thankful for men like David. THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION ABOUT DAVID PROVIDED TO ME.

  2. Jeff Meeker

    For all of you who never had the pleasure of spending time with David…..He was an absolute pleasure to be around…willing to offer any of his knowledge to anyone who asked…absolutely…One of a Kind!…He will be truly missed!! The world just lost one of the Good Guys!!!

  3. Meredith Musick

    Wow…. I just learned of this and was speaking of him only the other day as my teacher. I said ” When you see the red balloon fly over Boulder, That will be David” Rest well, Red Dog, you were such a great guy. Love you Roberta… so sorry for your enormous loss. Love, Meredith Musick

  4. Masa Fujita

    David Levin, the great champion. He was my hero, a kind of superstar for us.
    Thank you,David.

  5. Gregory Garcia

    What an honor to have flown, crewed, been instructed and just hang out with David. His many accomplishments are something his family and friends are sure proud of. David you will be greatly missed by all my friend.

    Soft breezes, gentle landings

  6. Al Muir

    I am sad to hear of David’s passing. I am honored to have known him and flown with him many times in various events. He will be missed.


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