The basic idea behind hot air balloons has been around for a long time. Archimedes, one of the greatest mathematicians in Ancient Greece, put forward the principle of buoyancy more than 2,000 years ago, and may have conceived of flying machines lifted by the force. Jim Woodman believes that triangular hot air balloons may have been used by the Nazca Indians of Peru some 1500 years ago as a tool for designing vast earth drawings on the Nazca plain.

More certain is that in the 13th century the English scientist Roger Bacon proposed hypothetical flying machines based on the principle. However, it was only in the late 18th century that man started to turn theory into reality.