Artist Unknown, “Mort de Madame Blanchard”, 1819, Newsprint Illustration
While not the first female hot air balloonist, Madame Blanchard was the most well-known: King Louis XVIII, after seeing her performance, named her the “Official Aeronaut of the Restoration”. She was the first female to pilot her own hot air balloon, and the first to make ballooning her career.
Unfortunately, several years after her husband, also a balloonist, died in a ballooning accident, Madame Blanchard was also killed. During a demonstration for a large crowd in Tivoli Gardens, she lit several fireworks, which ignited the gasses within her craft, causing her to fall to the ground and sustain fatal injuries.