Albert Leo Stevens (March 9, 1877 - May 8, 1944) was a pioneering balloonist.


He was born on March 9, 1877 in Cleveland, Ohio.[1][2][3] He had brother Frank Stevens.[4]

He began making balloon ascensions in 1889 at age 12, and began manufacturing balloons and dirigibles at the age of 20 in 1893.[1] In 1895 he made his first parachute jump from a church spire in Montreal, Canada.[2]

He participated in the Gordon Bennett Balloon Races. He flew one of the very first dirigibles in the United States in 1906.[1]

He opened the first private airfield in the nation in 1909. Stevens also played a key role in the development of safety features for parachutes.[1]

On July 8, 1911 he ascended in a balloon from the Wanamaker's store in New York City heading toward Philadelphia, but he landed in West Nyack, New York.[5]

During World War I he was a US Army instructor.[6]

He died on May 8, 1944.[7][6]


There is the Leo Stevens Award. The National Air and Space Museum houses the Leo Stevens Glass Plate Photography Collection, 1900-1915.[1]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Albert Leo Stevens". National Air and Space Museum.!226863!0. Retrieved 2010-07-09. "Albert Leo Stevens (1873-1944) was an accomplished balloonist and aviation pioneer. Stevens began making ascensions when he was twelve and began manufacturing balloons and dirigibles at the age of 20. Stevens was an exhibitor in parachute, balloon, dirigible, and human cannonball shows and also was a participant in races such as the Gordon Bennett Balloon Races. Stevens flew one of the very first successful dirigibles in the United States in 1906 and opened the first private airfield in the nation in 1909. In the latter part of his career, Stevens became a flight promoter and worked with such pioneering aviators as Harry Atwood, Harry Bingham Brown, George Beatty, and Harriet Quimby. Stevens also played a key role in the development of safety features for parachutes." 
  2. ^ a b "Albert Leo Stevens". Ballooning History.'swho-s2.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31. "Professional balloon & airship pilot/stunt man, 1895-1910 Builder of balloons, airships, & parachutes in New York City; Later had his B-Factory in Hoboken, NJ); Test pilot of Army balloons, Airships, & parachutes, 1907-15; Civilian B-Instructor for the U.S. Army (Ft.Omaha & Scott Field. Officer in U.S. Army, 1917-20; Balloon and Parachute Instructor. First B-Ascent 1885 from Cleveland, OH; First B-Solo 1891 (gas); First Smoke Para-jump 1891; FAI-ACA B-License #2 issued 1908; Airship #6 issued 1908; Made more than 1000 B-Flights before 1900, 3000 by 1910; First recorded airship flight attempt 1897; Claimed first attempted Airship flight in 1893; First recorded successful airship flight 30 Sep.1902; First Airplane flight 1908." 
  3. ^ His birth year has been listed from 1873 through 1877 in various sources. The New York Times uses the age of 71, which gives 1873 as his birth year. Findagrave uses "March 9, 1877" and that matches the year on his tombstone and the age given by the Associated Press in their obituary. 1877 will be used as the correct year in this article. It should be confirmed by the 1900 census and if he applied for a passport or registered for the World War I draft.
  4. ^ "Leo and Frank Stevens Picked Up by a Schooner Off Highland Light. Six Hours In The Water. They Were Obliged to Cut Loose from Their Balloon, Which was Lost Floating on the Sea in Their Car Until They Were Saved". New York Times. May 16, 1897. Retrieved 2010-12-26. "Leo and Frank Stevens, aeronauts, of 361 West Twenty-fifth Street, New York Cty, who, it was believed were drowned while making a balloon ascension, were brought to this place this evening on the schooner Mary Jane, Capt. Conroy. They were picked up Wednesday night, ten miles off Highland Light, below Sandy Hook." 
  5. ^ "Balloon Sets Sail For Philadelphia. Passes Above Times Square, Gets Lost in a Jersey Fog Bank, and Lands at West Nyack.". New York Times. July 9, 1911. Retrieved 2010-07-31. "Wanamaker store at Broadway and Tenth Street at 6 o'clock last night, sailed leisurely across the city, up Seventh Avenue to Times Square, and then floated off across the Hudson and was lost in the haze that hung over Weehawken." 
  6. ^ a b "Albert Leo Stevens, 71. Parachute expert. Veteran Balloon Pilot Dies. Was an Army Instructor in First World War". New York Times. May 9, 1944. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  7. ^ "A. Leo Stevens". Associated Press in the Los Angeles Times. May 9, 1944. "A. Leo Stevens, 67, prominent in aviation circles, died last night at the home of his brother Frank ..." 

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