From DT Online

Kites have been in existence for about 25 centuries and probably originated in China. The Chinese used kites for many military purposes including gauging the distance to besieged palaces, making eerie sounds to frighten enemies, and lifting men to act as look-outs.

Aviation in Britain Before the First World War- the work of Samuel Franklin Cody in Airship, Kite and Aircraft Aeronautics 1903 - 1913 RAE-O1083

The Japanese were known to have used kites to lift building materials during tower construction and in Malaya fishing kites developed and are still in use in Asia today.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Alexander Wilson in Scotland used a ‘train’ of kites to gain extra height for meteorological experiments and, in 1752, Benjamin Franklin performed his famous (and very dangerous!) electricity experiment with a kite.

In 1901 S.F. Cody patented a man-lifting kite and, while at NASA Francis Rogallo patented his Flexible Kite in 1948 that resulted in the development of hang gliders, as we know them today.

A kite flies a little like a tethered aircraft – indeed many of the early developers and pioneers such as Sir George Cayley (from Brompton Hall in North Yorkshire); the Australian inventor of the ‘Box Kite’, Laurence Hargrave; and the Wright Brothers all used kites in their experiments for man-powered flight. You may also wish to use your favourite ‘Search Engine’ to research more about about these people and kites generally using the Internet.