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

sherbetbizarre

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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
Here's an article on Tom Colbert, the TV Newsman who believed Rackstraw was Cooper, and tried to get him to confess, so they could sell the story to television:
Colbert's original cover plan: to lure him with the offer of consultant work on a fictitious TV show about a group of mercenaries, in the vein of The A-Team or The Expendables. "I'd thought, 'Why don't we try to do our own Argo?'" he recalls. Colbert had grown convinced that this old U.S. Army soldier with a distinctive criminal record, Robert W. Rackstraw, was in fact D.B. Cooper, who in 1971 skyjacked a Boeing 727 and then — with $200,000 in ransom money — parachuted from the plane into the Pacific Northwest night and enduring American myth.
But it all ends in denials and catfishing lesbians...

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/f...yjacker-db-cooper-finally-been-solved-1236196
 

Trevp666

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From Gary Larsons 'Farside' cartoons.

farside cooper.png
 

IbisNibs

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Scary that this took place nearly 50 years ago!
Even scarier that $200,000 now sounds like such a pathetically small amount compared to what it was at the time.
 

GNC

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Forty-nine years ago today, DB Cooper staged the only unsolved hijacking in history and there was an excellent documentary about the case on BBC4 last night, strongly recommended. It went over the facts and followed the stories of four main suspects, all of whom were convincing thanks to reliable witnesses. Just shows you how unreliable witnesses most of us can be.

The pull back at the end where it shows about 30 or 40 separate suspects they could have covered was very telling. There's just no way of knowing who he was (the FBI mishandled the evidence, that didn't help). Anyway, check out iPlayer for the Storyville doc, if you're in the UK - I think it's on HBO in the US.
 

DrPaulLee

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I was watching this on an old "Unsolved mysteries" on YouTube and was surprised to learn that the artists sketch that is usually shown looked nothing like the eyewitness recollection of Cooper!
 

GNC

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If the doc proved anything, it's that the Cooper sketch and description could apply to thousands of different people with narrow faces, wearing sunglasses and maybe a neat, black wig.
 

Trevp666

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an excellent documentary about the case on BBC4
Yes it was excellent. 'Storyville'.

What bothers me about the whole story though is this;

Once he had requested parachutes the authorities knew that he planned to jump out of the plane.
Why didn't they send up an aircraft (or more than one) to follow the plane and guide a search team to his location?
They could have had the parachutes covered in some kind of luminous paint so they could be seen in the dark, which he wouldn't have known about until after he had jumped out.
Surely that must have occurred to them?
They could have sent up craft without transponders so they didn't show on the internal radar.
It's not like he could have looked out the back and said "hey....we're being followed!"

Seems like law enforcement agencies at the time were incredibly inept.
 

GNC

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It does, and I think that's partly because every hijacking was solved within hours of it happening, so they had no reason to expect this would be any different. Well, it was, it really was. Also, for the luminous paint, they only had a limited time, and Cooper would have noticed any fresh paint on a parachute and might have reacted very badly - they didn't know if he was bluffing about the bomb, remember.
 

Mythopoeika

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I was watching this on an old "Unsolved mysteries" on YouTube and was surprised to learn that the artists sketch that is usually shown looked nothing like the eyewitness recollection of Cooper!
I'm baffled that they relied on a an artist's sketch, when there must be details of his passport stored somewhere. Or were passports back then not photo ID?
 

escargot

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Watching the BBC doc on it now. So far the biggest shock has been the blatantly sexist way the stewardesses were presented and treated.
(Even now, Virgin Airline stewardesses are expected to prepare for disembarkation by applying the correct shade of 'landing lips' lipstick.)
 

EnolaGaia

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I'm baffled that they relied on a an artist's sketch, when there must be details of his passport stored somewhere. Or were passports back then not photo ID?
Wasn’t it an internal flight so no passport required?

It was a domestic flight, and no passport would have been required. As of that time (1971) I don't remember whether there was any ID check on domestic passengers at all. I don't recall showing anything at a checkpoint other than my ticket in those days.
 

GNC

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Watching the BBC doc on it now. So far the biggest shock has been the blatantly sexist way the stewardesses were presented and treated.
(Even now, Virgin Airline stewardesses are expected to prepare for disembarkation by applying the correct shade of 'landing lips' lipstick.)

Yes, those ads made it look as if some kind of sexual favours were part of the flight! FFS.
 

escargot

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It was a domestic flight, and no passport would have been required. As of that time (1971) I don't remember whether there was any ID check on domestic passengers at all. I don't recall showing anything at a checkpoint other than my ticket in those days.
I remember that time very well. We Brits were stunned to learn that Americans could apparently just jump on a plane and fly anywhere in the country.
Of course the hijackings started too. We heard a lot about those.
 

GNC

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I think you could buy your ticket on the plane in US flights too! Like it was a bus.
 

EnolaGaia

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I remember that time very well. We Brits were stunned to learn that Americans could apparently just jump on a plane and fly anywhere in the country.
Of course the hijackings started too. We heard a lot about those.

Yep ... It was during that time (beginning of the Seventies) when ID checks began to be imposed as a result of the hijacking fad. Even so, in those days most states' drivers licenses didn't include a photo.

Nowadays all states have long included photos on their drivers licenses. The latest upgrade has been to a state-issued drivers license with a security chip, available only after submitting proof of citizenship and residence (as when applying for a passport). These enhanced drivers licenses are the only ones acceptable at TSA checkpoints now.
 

pandacracker

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I've just watched the B.B.C. documentary and read through this thread and my theory is ... fuck knows!

Can anyone give a plausible explanation as to why he asked for more than one parachute as this is bugging me.

The instructions to the flight crew sounds like he knew about parachuting from an aeroplane but in such conditions at night seems to me to be either foolhardy or over confident or desperate or ... (rabbit hole beckons)

I am stroking my chin at the facts that no one saw him jump and that none of the money that wasn't found by the river has been traced. I find other members theories about these points to be really informative and the way members bring their expertise and theoretical thinking to problems is one of the reasons I love this forum (that and the sex, of course)

Oh, and in the documentary, some of the flight crew getting emotional when recounting their story was interesting.
 

EnolaGaia

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... Can anyone give a plausible explanation as to why he asked for more than one parachute as this is bugging me. ...

As I recall it was presumed Cooper was knowledgeable enough to ask for duplicate chutes to reduce the risk of being given useless ones to prevent his being able to get away.
 

DrPaulLee

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My own thought is that Cooper died (the letter supposedly coming from him notwithstanding) and that any clues were obliterated when Mount St Helen's turned the whole area into a moonscape.
 
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EnolaGaia

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... Why didn't they send up an aircraft (or more than one) to follow the plane and guide a search team to his location? ...

They did ... At one or another time there were as many as 5 planes trailing / shadowing the airliner, including two F-106 interceptors from McChord AFB.

All these pursuers remained at orientations / distances sufficient to prevent Cooper from seeing them. None of them reported seeing Cooper jump, and none of them could specify the ground location above which he apparently left the airliner.
 

PeteS

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My own thought is that Cooper died (the letter supposedly coming from him notwithstanding) and that any clues were obliterated when Mount St Helen's turned the whole area into a moonscape.
I agree - I can't believe that if he had been successful and landed with the dosh, he didn't brag about his exploits to anyone, and that that someone would not have blobbed him in for a nice reward.
 

GNC

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I agree - I can't believe that if he had been successful and landed with the dosh, he didn't brag about his exploits to anyone, and that that someone would not have blobbed him in for a nice reward.

But according to some of the witnesses who claimed to have known him/her, he/she did admit his/her exploits, that's how they "knew" it was him/her. Either one of those witnesses is right, or none of them were. We'll never know.
 

Naughty_Felid

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But according to some of the witnesses who claimed to have known him/her, he/she did admit his/her exploits, that's how they "knew" it was him/her. Either one of those witnesses is right, or none of them were. We'll never know.


There are lots of people who have been identified as DB Cooper - https://thecoopervortex.podbean.com/ this is a podcast dedicated to him. Astonishing Legends did their last decent podcasts on him here https://www.astonishinglegends.com/archived-episodes/#2020 that practically sums up everything you need to know unless you are obsessed.
 

ChrisBoardman

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When it comes to suspects I think Rackstraw and McCoy were the only ones to resemble the photofits.
 
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