I watched this documentary, but I am doubtful of the evidence that they are using and their claims.

Ancient Aliens Season 1 Episode 2

The documentary uses ancient relics and evidences to try to prove that ancient civilizations built flying vehicles.

It attempts to explain that by appealing to ancient people having been visited by aliens.

Did ancient people have have and build flying vehicles (no matter if assisted by alien visitations)?

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    @RolandTaylor What would make it plausible is any sort of artifacts or actual writing stating that this technology existed. As it is, all we have is (1) no artifacts displaying advanced technology (the closest I'm aware of is basically a gear) and (2) no one claiming to have that kind of technology (documentaries usually reference things like "The gods were said to fly through the air in chariots -- clearly they mean space ships!"). May 23, 2012 at 5:08
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    Re BrendanLong's 'point 1', I think kites are closer. @jwenting, this looks to me like an un-disprovable claim. Clearly it is physically possible to construct a flying, or at least gliding, machine with fairly ancient tech (something like the Wright Flyer). It's also physically possible to build a boat from reed or balsa and sail across an ocean. But while there is no conclusive evidence of this happening, you can't prove that it didn't.
    – hunter2
    Jul 8, 2013 at 11:08
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    -1 for poor question: (1) Which specific claim are you asking about? Pointing to a whole "documentary" doesn't help narrow down to specific verifyable claim; (2) You talk about 2 distinct things, ancient flying apparatus and alien influence. Which one are you asking about? Your title stresses the former and your body, the latter.
    – user5341
    Aug 21, 2014 at 14:07
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    The question should have been closed as unclear then. Leaving an open question with a title stating something different than the body, and deleting an answer because it answers the body is just not quite right.
    – Yisela
    Aug 22, 2014 at 14:05
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    English historians found remnants of railroads from year 1800 and boasted that Englishmen already traveled by train two centuries ago. Unimpressed, Italians showed old cobblestone roads and replied that Romans were using horse-driven wheelcarts 25 centuries ago. Then Frenchs dug very deep and found zero infrastructure for any ground transportation in the 4th millenia BCE : they proudly concluded that by that time, the inhabitants of France were using flying cars.
    – Evargalo
    Aug 12, 2019 at 14:05

2 Answers 2


An unmanned aerial vehicle is an aerial vehicle, so... the Kongming lantern is famously attributed to Zhuge Liang (courtesy name Kongming), from the second century AD, who used it to send a signal to military allies. Wikipedia's article cites a historian, sans citation, claiming much earlier usage. I'll leave it to a more motivated reader to find a reference to this that doesn't trace back to Wikipedia itself - possibly this has something? (Laments for Aaron)

Since the principle of the sky lantern scales up to hot air balloons, there is no telling what attempts might have been lost to history, though one would surmise they did not work out well.

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    I think this hinges on how the OP defines a "flying vehicle". Komgming lanterns are not only unmanned, but uncontrolled, so they probably don't meet the definition of a "vehicle". Unfortunately, OP has been suspended for attempting to deface this and other questions of his, so he can't clarify right now (and I suspect he has no interest in doing so).
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 11, 2020 at 12:58
  • @F1Krazy: Pedantry, but the user wasn't suspended. It was a self-deletion.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 13, 2020 at 15:24

For now no, because we have not found something that could be solely a flying vehicle beyond doubt. But we have found tons of stuff, from coins, weapons and graves to entire building (temples, pyramids). But we have found nothing directing to a a flying vehicle.

The documentary mixes different archaeological devices to produce this assumption: I do the same with another real archaeological device:

For example we have found Antikythera mechanism: "The Antikythera mechanism (/ˌæntɪkɪˈθɪərə/, /ˌæntɪˈkɪθərə/) is an ancient Greek analogue computer[1][2][3][4] used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance.[5][6][7] It could also be used to track the four-year cycle of athletic games which was similar to an Olympiad, the cycle of the ancient Olympic Games."


We know that this artifact has a certain age, does a certain function but we do not know where it was used and why. It is certainly an amazing construction but we cannot even be sure if its functioning was accepted by the people of the time.

Assuming it was crafted by aliens instead of human minds of the time is equal to say that every important person on earth was actually either alien or under alien 'control'.

Similarly say that this device is part of an ancient spaceship build by humans with help from aliens and not a stand alone device counting something needed or just proving something, is just like above. We assume the most least possible against the most possible.

This answer assumes that 'ancient flying vehicle' will be something aged BC, relatively controllable, carry at least 1 person and 'fly' at a logical height of 1 meter or more and for some logical time of 1 minute or more. Thus i do not consider tower or mountain jumps of people wearing various sorts of 'wings' as 'flying vehicle'. The first 'flying vehicles' to fit those requirements where the well known balloons appearing about 18th century.


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    Sadly, I have to say that this answer doesn't add anything new. I also don't think it answers the question. The fact that there are complex ancient devices isn't proof that there were ancient flying vehicles. Jul 26, 2019 at 18:11
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    Welcome to Skeptics! Please provide some references to support your claims. In particular, that we have NOT found evidence (After all, the show claims we HAVE, so simply saying we haven't isn't sufficient.) Your claim about "every important person on Earth" seems unfounded.
    – Oddthinking
    Jul 27, 2019 at 16:53
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    We certainly do not need to assume the most possible against the least possible. Yes, it is true that "When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras", but that's not a proof that zebras don't exist. Just a heuristic of what to check first.
    – Oddthinking
    Jul 27, 2019 at 16:54
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    I'm not sure how linking to the Antikythera mechanism helps make a point here, or what point it is trying to make? Practically all sources I can find just claim it's an ancient analog computer made somewhere in ancient Greece.
    – JMac
    Jul 29, 2019 at 12:09
  • With Antikythera mechanism example i try to deem false that discovery of an ancient artifact of proven age and function does imply existence of more complicated 'engines' or 'vehicles'. The episode mentioned uses various artifacts and unexplained phenomena to compose aliens and alien-made flying vehicles. Aug 12, 2019 at 15:00

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