The first manned flight in a balloon took place over Paris in 1783. Two years later, a Frenchman named Jean-Pierre Blanchard attempted to fly across the English Channel for the first time, going from England to France. He persuaded a wealthy America, John Jeffries to pay all his expenses and to join him on the flight. The American willingly agreed.
The ?car? or bas-ket beneath their balloon had flapping wings and a rudder but these were jettisoned nine-and-a-half kilometres (six miles) out from Dover when they began to float dangerously close to the sea. They continued to flow perilously low. To lighten their load, Blanchard threw away his coat; Jeffries soon followed suit. But this was not enough and the two men had to take of their trousers too. Their efforts produced results.
Both of them landed 19 kilo-metres (12 miles) inland, in the Forest de Fel-mores, wearing only their under-pants. They had with them only a bottle of brandy and the first-ever letters to be carried by air-?air mail? was born.