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On This Day: March 9

Aviation events for March 9

1497: Nicolaus Copernicus 1st recorded astronomical observation.
1918: The first American air casualty in World War I is Capt. James E. Miller who loses his life in a French Spad while flying a practice patrol across the German lines.
1919: U.S. Navy Lt. Comdr. E. O. McDonnell makes the first successful flight from a gun turret platform on a U.S. navy battleship. The USS Texas is anchored in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for the test.
1928: The English aviatrix Lady Mary Bailey takes off from Croydon on what becomes the first round-trip flight between London and Cape Town, South Africa flown by a woman. She arrives back in England on May 12.
1938: A new parachute descent record of 35,450ft. is achieved by the French parachutist James Williams when he jumps from the cockpit of an ANF Les Mureaux 113 high-wing monoplane after taking off from the airfield at Chartres. Dropping to a height above the ground of 650 ft. in 2 minutes 50 seconds before opening his parachute, Williams easily achieves a world free-fall record.
1945: The Great Tokyo Air Raid, an overnight incendiary bombing raid by B-29 Superfortresses on Tokyo, is one of the most destructive air raids in history. It creates a firestorm which destroys 41 square kilometers (16 square miles) of the city, killing an estimated 88,000 to 125,000 people, injuring at least 41,000 and perhaps as many as a million people, and leaving probably a million people homeless.
1949: First flight of the Avro Shackleton prototype VW126.
1959: 1st known radar contact is made with Venus.
1961: 1st animal returned from space, dog named Blackie aboard Sputnik 9.
1986: Vega 2, USSR Venus/Comet Halley Probe made its comet flyby.
1986: NASA announces searchers found remains of Challenger astronauts.
1987: First flight of the Yakovlev Yak-141.
1991: U.S. 70th manned space mission STS-39 (Discovery 12) launches into orbit.
1997: Colonel John (Richard) Boyd passes away at West palm Beach, FL. He was dubbed "Forty Second Boyd" for his standing bet as an instructor pilot that beginning from a position of disadvantage, he could defeat any opposing pilot in air combat maneuvering in less than forty seconds. A man with a self-admitted sub-100 IQ, he was a genius.
2011: The Space Shuttle Discovery, first of the space shuttles to be retired, glides to a landing to end its 39th and final mission - the most by any space shuttle.

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