The Chinese Hot Air Baloon
Because we, humans, cannot fly using our own power, we have been attracted towards the idea of flight for some two millenniums. Even though the first human flight using a machine heavier than air did not occur until a century ago, there have been other attempts to fly, using kites or gliding flight as early as the 6th century CE.
The first records of flight come from ancient China.
To scare enemy troops, general Zhuge Liang (180-234 AD) installed an oil lamp under a large paper bag, and the bag floated because the lamp was heating the air. It was a primitive version of a hot air balloon, and it was used to frighten enemy troops because they thought a divine force was helping the Chinese.
This device became popular in festivals and spread along the Silk Route into Central Asia and the Middle East. A similar floating light are common in Tibetan and Indian celebrations. However there are no records to show that they were used for human flight.
According to the Comprehensive Mirror for the Aid of Government, the first human to fly was Yuan Huangtou, in 559. Huangtou, son of the erstwhile emperor of the Notrthern Wei kingdom, launched himself on a kite from a tower in the capital Ye during a succession wrangle. Records mark that he floated across the city walls and survived the landing only to be executed shortly after.