On This Day in Aviation History

February 9, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: February 9th

747-first-flight-100
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.

First takeoff by the Boeing 747

First takeoff by the Boeing 747 ‘City of Everett.’ (Photo courtesy of Boeing)

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.

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.

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.

1971: Apollo 14 returns to earth following the third manned Moon mission.

1969: The Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes its maiden test flight.

1959: The USSR’s R-7 Semyorka (NATO name SS-6 Sapwood) becomes the world’s first operational ICBM.

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.