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

Eponastill

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there was an excellent documentary about the case on BBC4 last night, strongly recommended.
I've just watched it - I thought it was excellent. I liked that they'd found so many people who were on the plane to interview. And so interesting that so many people believe they truly know who DB Cooper was. When you watch the programme you can thoroughly believe any of the four presented - they give their reasons and their Facts, and because they believe, you can be convinced by each in turn! Though of course at least three must be completely wrong. As someone says - people have a 'DB Cooper-shaped hole in their lives'. And that the case feeds into a sort of Robin-Hood style mythology of people Sticking It To The Man (this time though without giving the money away :). That we too would like to be brave enough to demand some cash and leap out of an aeroplane with it into the night and never be seen again and never be caught. I think it touches on very fortean themes of how we like to think about mysterious things and how we interpret what we think of as facts to produce our own view of reality.

Plus it's shot in quite a slick way and there are lots of interesting bits of film from the 70s, which also make it interesting to watch. Twin Peaks is even mentioned (although not actually because Cooper was named for DB Cooper) and indeed the whole affair does have a somewhat surreal twinpeaksishness about it.

Like GNC, I strongly recommend! It's available on the iplayer for another 11 months so you've plenty of time to have a look.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episo...ijacker-who-vanished-the-mystery-of-db-cooper
 

madmath

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One reminder: he was listed on the passenger list as "Dan Cooper", not D. B. which was a later error or invention. Any evidence that comes from the incorrect "D. B." should be treated with proper skepticism.
 

ChrisBoardman

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One reminder: he was listed on the passenger list as "Dan Cooper", not D. B. which was a later error or invention. Any evidence that comes from the incorrect "D. B." should be treated with proper skepticism.

He gave the name Dan Cooper but before that was reported the police said they were interviewing a DB Cooper, so the press heard DB Cooper first and it stuck.
 

EnolaGaia

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I've long suspected that Cooper's original plan went sideways owing to circumstances, and his fate may well have been determined by improvisations allowing him to proceed in whatever fashion he could.

Most specifically ... I don't think he planned on being unable to take off from Seattle / Tacoma airport until circa 4 hours after transmitting his demands. The airliner circled for about 2 hours, not landing until the authorities had gathered up and packaged the cash and obtained the parachutes he'd requested. It would be almost 2 more hours before the transfer was done and the plane took off again. In the mean time, the sun had set and it had become dark. I don't think he'd originally intended to bail out after dark, but he may well have planned to jump near enough to dusk to thwart pursuers.

I also suspect he had to improvise how to handle the cash. He originally specified that the money was to be delivered in a suitcase. It was delivered in a canvas bag or knapsack (accounts vary on the description). I think this raised a problem with how he planned to carry or drop the money to the ground.

He cut at least two shroud lines from the unused main chute before jumping. I suspect he did this to produce some sort of alternative rigging for the bag / knapsack.

The most solid fact we know from the aftermath is that at least one substantial chunk of the money got away from him. It doesn't take much additional extrapolation to wonder whether all the money got away from him during the jump. If he survived the jump but lost the cash he would (or should) have remained silent because confessing this would expose him to criminal charges (and a lot of humiliation).
 

ChrisBoardman

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I've long suspected that Cooper's original plan went sideways owing to circumstances, and his fate may well have been determined by improvisations allowing him to proceed in whatever fashion he could.

Most specifically ... I don't think he planned on being unable to take off from Seattle / Tacoma airport until circa 4 hours after transmitting his demands. The airliner circled for about 2 hours, not landing until the authorities had gathered up and packaged the cash and obtained the parachutes he'd requested. It would be almost 2 more hours before the transfer was done and the plane took off again. In the mean time, the sun had set and it had become dark. I don't think he'd originally intended to bail out after dark, but he may well have planned to jump near enough to dusk to thwart pursuers.

I also suspect he had to improvise how to handle the cash. He originally specified that the money was to be delivered in a suitcase. It was delivered in a canvas bag or knapsack (accounts vary on the description). I think this raised a problem with how he planned to carry or drop the money to the ground.

He cut at least two shroud lines from the unused main chute before jumping. I suspect he did this to produce some sort of alternative rigging for the bag / knapsack.

The most solid fact we know from the aftermath is that at least one substantial chunk of the money got away from him. It doesn't take much additional extrapolation to wonder whether all the money got away from him during the jump. If he survived the jump but lost the cash he would (or should) have remained silent because confessing this would expose him to criminal charges (and a lot of humiliation).

Not sure why he would have wanted the money in a suitcase, being unaerodynamic it would have impossible to hold on to when jumping out the plane.
 

EnolaGaia

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Not sure why he would have wanted the money in a suitcase, being unaerodynamic it would have impossible to hold on to when jumping out the plane.

Good point ... One of the self-confessed 'Coopers' claimed he'd constructed a special harness designed to allow him to tether a suitcase to himself during the jump, but this couldn't be done with the bag / knapsack.
 

AnonyJ

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I wonder if this wonderful mystery will pass into the 'eternally unsolvable' category as time fugits ever faster, as has the Mary Celeste and the Flannan Isles lighthouse men. If I ever met a genie or a fairy who could grant me 3 wishes, I think I'd ask who was Dan Cooper and what happened to him first before then obviously moving on to world peace and a million quid!
 

DrPaulLee

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When was the first time "DB" rather than "Dan", was used in connection with the hijacking?
 

DrPaulLee

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Thanks, but that's not what I asked!

When the hijacking occurred, he was known as Dan Cooper. At some point later, everyone started referring to him as DB. *that's* what I was asking.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Thanks, but that's not what I asked!

When the hijacking occurred, he was known as Dan Cooper. At some point later, everyone started referring to him as DB. *that's* what I was asking.

I believe it was a mistake by a newspaper, which just took hold. It's definitely mentioned in the Astonishing Legends podcast.
 

Austin Popper

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That must have been really annoying for the D.B. Cooper who was interviewed by the police.
 

DrPaulLee

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All those people referring to friends or relatives and being DB Cooper candidates are hoaxers, then? A genuine claimant would talk of just "Dan" Cooper.
 

EnolaGaia

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There are multiple versions of the story explaining how the mistaken name "D. B. Cooper" came to be the default label for the hijacker. The version that claims the initials "D. B." came from a suspect the FBI investigated soon after the incident is only one of them.

The most detailed accounts claim the name originated among journalists laboring to create wire dispatches the night of the hijacking. The earliest documented source was a UPI wire service story written by Clyde Jabin at the service's Portland office. A local newspaperman named James Long claimed that he was the first to document the hijacker's name as "D. B.", and he suspects Jabin got it from the story he'd hurriedly assembled and submitted that night. (The UPI bureau was on the same floor of the same building as the offices of Long's employer.)

These two 2016 articles from Columbia Journalism Review are the most detailed accounts of how Jabin and / or Long came up with the mistaken name and created its fame via publication:

A reporter’s role in the notorious unsolved mystery of ‘D.B. Cooper’
https://www.cjr.org/the_feature/db_cooper_unsolved_hijacking_mystery.php

One mystery solved in ‘D.B. Cooper’ skyjacking fiasco
https://www.cjr.org/the_feature/db_cooper_mystery_solved.php
 

Kryptonite

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

I always thought Kenny Christiansen bore a decent resemblance to the photofit. Iirc, he was a former United Airlines employee too.
 

IbisNibs

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As someone says - people have a 'DB Cooper-shaped hole in their lives'. And that the case feeds into a sort of Robin-Hood style mythology of people Sticking It To The Man (this time though without giving the money away :). That we too would like to be brave enough to demand some cash and leap out of an aeroplane with it into the night and never be seen again and never be caught.
Well, I urge sympathy for those with any hole in their lives—so many people have them, and can end up being destroyed by them, or prompted by them to make life better for all.
My default assumption about those who live by Sticking It To The Man is that they have unresolved issues with their fathers, and have been too lazy to cultivate the self-awareness to realize that. (Pls note: assumption = very opinionated prejudice :D).
And brave enough to leap out of a plane? Agreed, that would take a great deal of resolve and courage. But I would argue that demanding money by threatening other people so that they fear for their lives is not so admirable. I have far greater esteem for the generosity of spirit that you show in your post above, Esponastill !
 

Eponastill

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I have far greater esteem for the generosity of spirit that you show in your post above, Esponastill !
Ah I wouldn't claim it as my own opinion or invention, I was just trying to summarise what various people were saying in the programme! - that they were trying to figure out why the whole DB Cooper thing is so massive as a legend. To be honest I didn't really know much about the story beyond the bare facts before I watched the programme. I didn't realise how huge the investigation was to find him (partly because every man and his dog seems to have a theory about who he was).
 

Naughty_Felid

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EnolaGaia

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I thought the information about the plane's path was largely provided from the dip motion when he left the plane and the crew onboard the passenger liner rather than the interceptors.
AFAIK that's correct. None of the (up to 5) other planes shadowing the hijacked airliner were able to see him or tell when it was he jumped. Neither were any of them able to pinpoint the airliner's location at any time because of the nighttime and weather conditions.
 

ramonmercado

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It will be 50 years this year, hope there will be some good domumentaries on it.

This one was made last year:, available on iplayer for another 3 months. I've seen it, quite good, it looks at possible suspects.

The Hijacker Who Vanished: The Mystery of DB Cooper

A Storyville documentary. A mysterious fugitive, a hijacked airplane and a daring mid-air escape. The real-life tale of one of America's most extraordinary unsolved crimes. Just who is DB Cooper? More

  • Duration 83 mins
  • First shown 23 Nov 2020
  • Available for 3 months

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episo...-who-vanished-the-mystery-of-db-cooper?page=1
 

Trevp666

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I think I saw that (possibly commented upthread about it).
Or it might have been a similar program.
But it went into quite a lot of detail.
 

oxo66

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I think I saw that (possibly commented upthread about it).
Or it might have been a similar program.
But it went into quite a lot of detail.
It was rebroadcast a couple of weeks ago when I caught it for the first time - yes amazing I know some dinosaurs like me still watch broadcast TV. Good programme, it has interviews with people who were involved in the case fifty years ago and in subsequent decades. Plus archive newsreels etc. It's not an proper overview of the case though as it discusses four (i think) possible suspects in detail with long interviews with relatives or other advocates. It was discussed upthread last November when it was first broadcast.

oxo
 

maximus otter

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How 3 Particles Left on D.B. Cooper’s Tie Could Finally Nail Down the Skyjacker’s Identity

An amateur sleuth says he’s tracked down distinct metal alloys pointing to the skyjacker’s former employer.

The unknown skyjacker of a Northwest Orient Airlines plane, headed from Portland to Seattle, has baffled the world for over 50 years. After landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the skyjacker had the pilots take off again, this time with $200,000 worth of ransom cash and parachutes in hand, only to jump from the plane over southwest Washington ... never to be seen again.

But that could change if amateur sleuth Eric Ulis of Arizona can prove out his theory after tracking down three distinct particles found on a necktie left behind by the skyjacker.

Ulis noticed that three pieces of an alloy made of titanium and antimony, two Earth elements, are among those particles. His research on the unique alloy led him to Rem-Cru, a Midland, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of titanium-antimony. The now-defunct company’s assets have been sold over the decades, and Ulis says he’s working to obtain additional historical records on the company.

“I believe that we have identified not only the company where D.B. Cooper came from, but also the specific division within the company that D.B. Cooper came from.”

Ulis also says he’s locked in one specific person of interest.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/airlines/a40743383/metal-alloy-particles-db-cooper-identity/

maximus otter
 

TangletwigsDeux

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