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On This Day: February 9

Aviation events for February 9

1497: Nicolaus Copernicus observed the Moon eclipse the star Aldebaran.
1923: Aeroflit Airlines is formed.
1936: Tommy Rose lands at Wingfield Aerodrome in Cape Town, South Africa, after a record flight from England of 3 days 17 hours 38 minutes.
1939: British flyer Alex Henshaw lands his Percival Mew Gull at Gravesend in Kent, England, after a record flight to Cape Town and back in 4 days 10 hours and 20 minutes.
1945: In an event that would later be known as "Black Friday", a large force of 46 Allied Bristol Beaufighter, North American P-51 Mustang and Warwick aircraft suffers heavy casualties over the coast of Norway during an unsuccessful attack on German destroyer Z33 and its escorting vessels. Only 37 planes would return to base, with 14 airmen killed in action and four taken as POWs, while four Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Fw 190s would be shot down, killing only two pilots and seven sailors.
1959: The USSR’s R-7 Semyorka (NATO name SS-6 Sapwood) becomes the world’s first operational ICBM.
1963: First flight of the Boeing 727.
1969: First flight of the Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet" airliner takes place in Seattle, Washington. The wide-bodied, long-range transport is capable of carrying 347 passengers, and is the largest aircraft in commercial airline service in the world.
1971: Apollo 14 returns to earth following the third manned Moon mission.
1975: Soyuz 17 returns to earth after setting a Soviet mission-duration record of 29 days on a trip to the Salyut 4 space station.
1982: Japan Airlines Flight 350, a Douglas DC-8 (JA8061) crashes on approach to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, killing 24 of the 174 passengers on board. Captain Seiji Katagiri is believed to have suffered a mental breakdown, deliberately causing the crash by deploying the thrust reversers on engines number two and three. Katagiri survived and was prosecuted, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He had previously taken a year off from flying due to psychological illness.
1983: British Airways becomes the second airline to fly the Boeing 757, about five weeks after Eastern Air Lines pushed the new jet into service.
1986: Halley's Comet reaches 30th perihelion (closest approach to Sun).
1989: Boeing 747-400 enters service with Northwest Airlines.
1990: Galileo flies by Venus.
1995: During Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-55, astronaut Bernard A. Harris, Jr. becomes the first African American to perform a spacewalk while Michael Foale becomes the first Briton to do the same.
1996: Adolf “Dolfo” Galland passes away. He was a German Luftwaffe General and flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe. He flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western and the Defence of the Reich fronts. On four occasions he survived being shot down, and he was credited with 104 aerial victories, all of them against the Western Allies.
1997: First Flight of the Boeing 737-700.
2016: First Flight of the A321neo. D-AVXB

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