The first sustained flight occurred as a hot-air balloon was launched at Annonay, France, by brothers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. The Montgolfier brothers built a balloon made of silk and lined with paper that was 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter and launched it — with nobody aboard — from the marketplace in Annonay on June 4, 1783. The balloon rose 5,200-6,600 feet (1,600-2,000 meters), stayed aloft for 10 minutes and traveled more than a mile — about 2 kilometers.
Word of their success quickly spread, and a demonstration for the king was planned. For this flight, the brothers enlisted the help of Jean-Baptiste Réveillion, a successful wallpaper manufacturer. They constructed a balloon about 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter made of taffeta and coated with a varnish of alum for fireproofing. Réveillion’s influence was apparent as the balloon was decorated with golden flourishes, zodiac signs, and suns (symbolizing King Louis XVI).