D.B. Cooper: The Parachuting Airline-Hijacker

Do you reckon D B Cooper survived?

  • yes

    Votes: 19 51.4%
  • no

    Votes: 18 48.6%

  • Total voters
    37

Schrodinger's Zebra

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Mr Zebra and I were watching a YouTube documentary about this just yesterday, and Mr Zebra had a very interesting theory which I think is worthy of mentioning here to see what you all think...

"He seemed to know a lot about planes. What if he concealed himself somewhere on the plane, rather than jumping out? No one saw him jump, they only saw the light saying that the door had opened. What if he opened the door then hid?

Loafers would be good for sneaking about quietly on a plane. Also when he told the stewardess that he 'wouldn't need' the parachute instructions that had been provided."


I rather like this theory, and it would go some way to explaining why they never found him. They're looking for someone who jumped out of a plane, not someone who snuck off the plane in Reno and walked away. Plus, when the plane landed they looked around the seat where he'd been sitting, for DNA evidence and what-have-you, but it doesn't appear they searched the plane in any great detail as they had no reason to.

Thoughts? :) Anyone with aircraft knowledge have any idea whether there are such hidey-holes? Access to the baggage compartment from the floor of the plane, etc?
 

Mythopoeika

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Mr Zebra and I were watching a YouTube documentary about this just yesterday, and Mr Zebra had a very interesting theory which I think is worthy of mentioning here to see what you all think...

"He seemed to know a lot about planes. What if he concealed himself somewhere on the plane, rather than jumping out? No one saw him jump, they only saw the light saying that the door had opened. What if he opened the door then hid?

Loafers would be good for sneaking about quietly on a plane. Also when he told the stewardess that he 'wouldn't need' the parachute instructions that had been provided."

I rather like this theory, and it would go some way to explaining why they never found him. They're looking for someone who jumped out of a plane, not someone who snuck off the plane in Reno and walked away. Plus, when the plane landed they looked around the seat where he'd been sitting, for DNA evidence and what-have-you, but it doesn't appear they searched the plane in any great detail as they had no reason to.

Thoughts? :) Anyone with aircraft knowledge have any idea whether there are such hidey-holes? Access to the baggage compartment from the floor of the plane, etc?
Depending upon the plane, there are hatches in the floor to various small compartments.
On a Boeing 727:
727-com-an400.gif

Aircraft-System-Compartment-Diagram.jpg
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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Depending upon the plane, there are hatches in the floor to various small compartments.
On a Boeing 727:
727-com-an400.gif

Aircraft-System-Compartment-Diagram.jpg

Aha! Very interesting thank you. Do you think then, that this theory is at least plausible? On the diagram they look big enough for a person, certainly compared to the seat sizes.

(If anyone's wondering why I haven't googled this myself, I decided that relying on people's knowledge would be safer than googling 'hiding places on planes' as that might warrant some... ahem... attention.)
 

Tribble

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Aha! Very interesting thank you. Do you think then, that this theory is at least plausible? On the diagram they look big enough for a person, certainly compared to the seat sizes.

(If anyone's wondering why I haven't googled this myself, I decided that relying on people's knowledge would be safer than googling 'hiding places on planes' as that might warrant some... ahem... attention.)

I'd have thought the police/FBI would thoroughly search the plane as a crime scene. Cooper claimed to have a bomb - what if he left another one behind? An accomplice? Dropped a clue, like clothing or papers? I'd hope 1971 CSI would extend as far as a search and a sniffer dog. And I'd imagine the plane would be held in a secure area/surrounded as soon as it landed until the investigation was over.
 

Mythopoeika

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Aha! Very interesting thank you. Do you think then, that this theory is at least plausible? On the diagram they look big enough for a person, certainly compared to the seat sizes.

(If anyone's wondering why I haven't googled this myself, I decided that relying on people's knowledge would be safer than googling 'hiding places on planes' as that might warrant some... ahem... attention.)
It may be possible, but they'd have to do it unobserved.
They can't do it now, because there are alarms on these compartments. The outer door can't be lowered during flight either.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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It may be possible, but they'd have to do it unobserved.
They can't do it now, because there are alarms on these compartments. The outer door can't be lowered during flight either.

I think the unobserved thing would be fine as apparently he'd ordered the stewardesses into the cockpit before he put on the parachute or as he was putting it on; so no one actually saw him jump. Doesn't surprise me about the alarms nowadays, but certainly back then, would be different. Heck, he got on a plane without his real identity. How times have changed.


Doesn't really explain the money that was found washed up though.

Yes true it doesn't, and Mr Zebra doesn't have a theory for that part of it yet, and only thing I can come up with is he planted it to throw off the scent / have a laugh at the expense of the authorities (you know, keep alive their theory that he jumped)? He might have found it hilarious (if Mr Zebra's theory is true, that is) that they were still looking for someone who parachuted, so thought he'd plant some 'evidence' to help them along?

But other than that I got nothing, as they say.


When he opened the ramp I'd imagine it would get pretty breezy in that section. Maybe he dropped the bag accidentally while trying to avoid falling out?

Ah, it's possible (and wouldn't that be frustrating... "I'm almost home free... oh. Heck.")

Although I think one of the stewardesses said he'd tied something to himself which she assumed was the bag of money (but it might not have been). So, yeah. Possible.
 

Austin Popper

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I think the bag of money found was only a small part of the loot. Seems like the parachute was found, and had been used. Been a long time though since I read anything about the case.
 

dr wu

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The theory I liked was that he waited for a few minutes before he jumped so he would have jumped in a safer land area and also threw them off his scent since they assumed he ended up in the forest and not over a flatter part of desert...in a western area.....this idea was on one of the Josh Gates episodes.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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I'd have thought the police/FBI would thoroughly search the plane as a crime scene. Cooper claimed to have a bomb - what if he left another one behind? An accomplice? Dropped a clue, like clothing or papers? I'd hope 1971 CSI would extend as far as a search and a sniffer dog. And I'd imagine the plane would be held in a secure area/surrounded as soon as it landed until the investigation was over.

Sorry, I didn't see this post when I replied earlier. I don't think they'd have cause to search the hidden compartments, as they'd have no reason to suspect that - and I didn't think they'd need to search anywhere other than where he'd been sitting but yeah, you could be right about searching it in case of another bomb.



I think the bag of money found was only a small part of the loot. Seems like the parachute was found, and had been used. Been a long time though since I read anything about the case.

Yes certainly not enough money to explain the entire haul so he could have got away with the rest.

Parachute used would be a problem (for Mr Zebra's theory that is) - unless, he used the parachute to get rid of the bomb? (Which I'm wondering was a fake one, just to scare people)? Although - thinking as I type - how would the bomb open the parachute (duh)..

.. unless he tied the presumably heavy bomb to the rip cord, such that as it fell it would pull the rip cord?


(yeah, yeah, I know... straws... clutching at... but I believe with things like this if we keep mulling over ideas, no matter how ridiculous, eventually we shall arrive at the truth) :)



The theory I liked was that he waited for a few minutes before he jumped so he would have jumped in a safer land area and also threw them off his scent since they assumed he ended up in the forest and not over a flatter part of desert...in a western area.....this idea was on one of the Josh Gates episodes.

Actually that's summat else Mr Zebra mentioned (before he came up with his main theory) - "why didn't he jump over the desert which would have made a better landing (no trees etc to crash into)"? I don't think the program we watched, mentioned this bit about him waiting.
 
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Schrodinger's Zebra

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If I'm not mistaken, the notes had known serial numbers and none of them were ever presented.

Can they... I may have read this earlier in the thread, but... can criminals sort of pass money around with each other without actually spending it in the normal sense? I'm sure I saw someone mention that. Or it could have been spent abroad, would it perhaps not have been given the same checks then? (Does foreign money taken abroad stay there, for tourists and such?)

I know nothing about money laundering or criminals so I could be talking absolute gibberish :D
 

Tribble

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Can they... I may have read this earlier in the thread, but... can criminals sort of pass money around with each other without actually spending it in the normal sense? I'm sure I saw someone mention that. Or it could have been spent abroad, would it perhaps not have been given the same checks then? (Does foreign money taken abroad stay there, for tourists and such?)

I know nothing about money laundering or criminals so I could be talking absolute gibberish :D

There's several countries that have such weak currencies of their own that they use USD as secondary/unofficial currency. Quite believable that the money could enter such a system. Although I'd have thought the odds of not even a single bill making its way back to the US (where it could be detected) over the decades would be quite slim. 9,710 banknotes unaccounted for.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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There's several countries that have such weak currencies of their own that they use USD as secondary/unofficial currency. Quite believable that the money could enter such a system. Although I'd have thought the odds of not even a single bill making its way back to the US (where it could be detected) over the decades would be quite slim. 9,710 banknotes unaccounted for.

Ah, more information from knowledgeable folks, thank you.

I'm sure if we keep nibbling away at this, we'll figure it out and succeed where the FBI have failed. Sure of it.
 

DrPaulLee

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One of the first books I read on the subject (one of those compendium of crime books) says that a minute change in weight was detected and that would correspond with the time he jumped.
 

escargot

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There seem to be as many DB Coopers as there are Amelia Earharts.
It's getting like the fragments of the True Cross which would make up a giant redwood tree, and the various bits of the saints who must each have had two dozen extra limbs and organs.
 

EnolaGaia

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There seem to be as many DB Coopers as there are Amelia Earharts.

I feel the need to respectfully quibble about this at face value ...

There are indeed an identical number of known / observed focal actors - one in each case.

The only sense in which there's a multiplicity common to both the Cooper and Earhart cases lies in the many suggested outcomes - i.e., the subsequent fates of each actor after they were last observed / engaged.

I suppose one could argue there's a similar multiplicity regarding intentions, objectives or agenda attributed to each actor's culminating scenario.

The multiplicity of suggested identities for the actor in the Cooper case does not match the single well-known identity of the actor in the Earhart case.
 

Austin Popper

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I feel the need to respectfully quibble about this at face value ...

There are indeed an identical number of known / observed focal actors - one in each case.

The only sense in which there's a multiplicity common to both the Cooper and Earhart cases lies in the many suggested outcomes - i.e., the subsequent fates of each actor after they were last observed / engaged.

I suppose one could argue there's a similar multiplicity regarding intentions, objectives or agenda attributed to each actor's culminating scenario.

The multiplicity of suggested identities for the actor in the Cooper case does not match the single well-known identity of the actor in the Earhart case.
There were several Amelias, of course. So many eyewitnesses to her (their) imprisonment/execution/physical demise due to illness, trauma, starvation. And of course at least one who ditched in the ocean and sank. Some even think she survived the war and came home in secret. Lots of people believe lots of things.

Anyway, it was a cynical joke so don't worry about it.
 

Austin Popper

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As for DB Cooper, well, that was me.

$300,000 - ~6k didn't go nearly as far as I imagined it would.
 

maximus otter

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San Diegan featured in program about notorious D.B. Cooper skyjacking case dies.

Robert Rackstraw was the subject of a 2016 miniseries examining the unsolved case from 1971

JULY 9, 2019

He was a high school dropout and U.S. Army paratrooper trained in explosives and psychological operations. He also worked as a pilot for hire in pre-revolution Iran and served more than a year in prison for stealing a plane and passing bad checks.

And Robert W. Rackstraw, who died early Tuesday in his Banker’s Hill condominium, also was a subject for amateur sleuths investigating D.B. Cooper, the legendary skyjacker who jumped from a Northwest Orient Airlines jet somewhere over southwestern Washington in 1971 with $200,000 in cash and into history.

D.B. Cooper was never found. It was not even clear the hijacker survived the leap from the back of the airplane on Thanksgiving Eve nearly 50 years ago.

But Rackstraw, whose Army photo bore some resemblance to the notorious mastermind and had many of the skills required to pull off such a feat, became the subject of a four-hour miniseries that aired on the History Channel in 2016 and linked him to the unsolved caper.

The San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that Rackstraw died early in the morning in his home just west of Balboa Park.

The 75-year-old Army veteran was pronounced dead from a longstanding heart condition.

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.co...b-cooper-skyjacking-dies-in-bankers-hill-home

maximus otter
 
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