The team at Rocky Mountain Balloon Rides loves everything about Hot Air Balloons, especially the history of the sport! Read about it here:

History of Ballooning:

The first unmanned flight

The first unmanned flight took place on 19 September 1783, the Montgolfier brothers balloon was flown with the first living creatures(non human).  There was a sheep, a duck, and a rooster in the basket. The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology.  The duck was expected to be unharmed by being lifter aloft, and the rooster was included as further control as it was a bird that did not fly at high altitudes.

This demonstration was performed before a crowd at the royal palace in Versailles, before King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette.  The flight lasted approximately 8 minutes and covered 2 miles(3km), and obtained an altitude of 1500 feet(460m). The craft landed safely after flying.

First manned Flight

The first clearly recorded instance of a balloon carrying(human) passengers designed by the Mongolfier brothers, takes off from the Bois de Boulogne, Paris November 21, 1783.  The flight lasted about 25 minutes and covered about 5 miles. King Louis XVI originally decreed that “condemed criminals would be the first pilots, but scientists de Rozier, along with Marquis Francois D’Arlandes successfully petitoned for the honor.