The first man known to have flown was a Chinese prisoner in the year 559. The Emperor Wenxuan of the Northern Qi had a man named Yuan Huangtou imprisoned.
Wenxuan then thought it would be a great idea to experiment. He ordered a few prisoners (including Yuan Huangtou) to be thrown of a tower while attached to supersized paper kites in the form of owls. Only Huangtou survived, eventually landing outside the city walls. The emperor still had him executed later.
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By Tholly (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons