On This Date in History: On this date in 1971, one of the biggest law enforcement mysteries in US history began. A man, commonly referred to as DB Cooper, hijacked a Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 727. The Boeing 727 was a relatively small jet that featured a stairway that lowered from the rear of the plane near the tail and was often used for short hauls. This particular flight was to go from Portland to Seattle but this guy, wearing wrap around sunglasses showed a flight attendant a brief case filled with red sticks, some wires and a battery, said it was a bomb. He claimed it was a bomb and he wanted $200,000 and four parachutes. He got what he wanted and he let the 36 passengers on board off the plane while in the ground in Seattle. They took off again with Cooper and a flight attendant and he ordered the pilot to fly to Mexico City. At 8:13 pm, not long after take off, the pressure in the plane fell, indicating that the rear door had been opened. Cooper was gone. He had jumped over very very rough terrain, in the dark, at ten thousand feet, in a rain storm from a jet flying at nearly 200 mph. Survival of a jump like that would be difficult to say the least. Cooper’s remains nor Cooper have ever been found.
Many things have changed since then. First off, crooks are not going to go to all that risk and trouble for a lousy $200,000. I mean, ballplayers make more than that before the first pitch, the opening kickoff or before the ref tosses up the opening tip. Even the President makes twice as much as that. Northwest Orient is now Northwest Airlines which is owned by Delta Airlines. The Boeing 727 is not used much any more but you can’t open the rear door while its in flight any more. That changed not long after Cooper’s escape. Also security measures for air travel began escalating after Cooper’s achievement.
He also inspired some copy cats…though not very good ones. A guy named McCoy tried the same thing four months after Cooper but asked for $500,000 but still wanted the 4 parachutes. He got failed and went to prison. He was shot while trying a prison escape. Then a guy named Tripp boarded the same flight that Cooper did…but he only asked for $100,000 and 4 parachutes. The flight attendant slipped him 3 valiums. He reduced his demands to 3 cheeseburgers and a rental car. After being released on probation, Tripp tried again..same flight…same routine only this time his “bomb” was a shoebox instead of a briefcase. He wanted to be flown to Afghanistan. Instead, he was shot and killed by the FBI in a standoff. By this time, it sounds as if J. Edgar Hoover and the G-Men were getting pretty tired of the hijack stuff.
In 1980, a kid found $5800 in deteriorating bills along the Columbia River in Washington. It was in the form of a bunch of stacks of $20 bills that were in a state of deterioration. The bills were later identified as part of the loot. But, what happened to the rest of it? In March of 2008, the case got new life when a parachute was found when a guy plowing his field came upon it. As it turned out, the chute was later found to not be the one from Cooper. A couple of things have not changed. Reporters still get stuff wrong but don’t correct the record. Apparently, it was initially stated that the man in question was Dan Cooper, as was clearly printed on his ticket. But, a reporter somehow thought they said DB Cooper and so that moniker stuck. The other thing that remains the same is that no one knows what happened to DB Cooper. Below are some stories that have people claiming to be Cooper, but the FBI dismisses all reported leads.
In fact, it is kinda interesting that they have eliminated their original idea that he was an experienced parachute expert. That is because that no expert would attempt such a jump under those circumstances or really any circumstance. Besides that…the man who jumped from the plane was wearing loafers. No self respecting parachutist jumps from 10,000 feet in the dark, in a thunderstorm from a plane doing 200 mph over some of the roughest geography in the country wearing penny loafers.
When I was a kid, there was a rumor going around that Alice Cooper was really Mr. Green Jeans from Captain Kangaroo. I think Alice Cooper just may be DB Cooper.
Here are some stories in which people claim that they know who Cooper was…including one that claims he was really a she who used to be a he…yes indeed…DB Cooper had a sex change to a woman before she hijacked the plane dressed as a man.
Weather Bottom Line: So far, the forecast is right on track. It was cloudy on Monday with a very isolated light shower or two. Look for much of the same on Tuesday though late day there may be a bit more in the way of light shower activity. I still think that Wednesday will be fine but on Thanksgiving Day, the bottom drops out as a big fat trof drops in. It will be chilly. Still think that snow on Thursday night is a computer’s fantasy and even if it does happen, it would be a conversation piece and nothing more; it would be a few flakes and the ground too warm. Friday will also be chilly. I’m not sold on the idea of us making the mid 40′s either day. We rebound somewhat going through the weekend.