Sophie Blanchard Crashes!

September 21, 1817 Sophie Blanchard, the first woman balloonist, crashed into a swamp and nearly drowned. Two years later she would become the first woman killed in an aviation accident, in an incident that involved fireworks, flammable gasses, and the roof of a house. After her death, Genville Mellen wrote that the accident proved “a woman in a balloon is either out of her element or too high in it.” Blanchard’s flying was renowned through France where she entertained Napoleon. Louis XVIII proclaimed her the “Official Aeronaut of the Restoration.”