D.B. Cooper is the name given by the media to an unidentified man who hijacked a passenger flight en route to seattle. After obtaining four parachutes and $200,000 in ransom money, he jumped out of the plane and vanished into the night, never to be seen again. Some of the money and a parachute was later found, but despite an extensive investigation by the FBI, there has been no trace of Cooper. There are many theories about the identity of Cooper and what happened that night, but none have been confirmed. In 2016 the FBI closed its investigation of Cooper but still asks for any evidence to be submitted.The pieces of evidence that have emerged over the years have, for the most part, raised more questions than they answered. The main pieces of evidence that have been recovered are a knapsack filled with some of the money. A parachute, and Cooper’s clip on tie. Cooper was very familiar with the Seattle area and was able to point out things from the plane that most civilians would not know, an example being the driving time from Seattle to McChord Air Force Base. This suggests that he may have been a veteran of the air force.Evidence any eyewitness accounts suggest that Cooper was very clever. He requested four parachutes to make the them think he might take others with him, so he would not be given intentionally sabotaged equipment. He wore a suit and tie because once he parachuted out and landed, he would have to hitchhike his way out of the woods and back to civilization, and he would have an easier time getting a ride if he were dressed nicely. The particular aircraft that he chose had an aft airstair that could be operated from the passenger area, and the unusual placement of the engines allowed him to safely exit through said airstair.The FBI believes that contrary to prior evidence, Cooper lacked important skydiving skills. Special Agent Larry Carr stated that even an expert skydiver would not jump out into a pitch black, rainy night with a -70 degrees windchill. He also failed to notice that one of his parachutes was a training version, meaning it had been sewn shut. Additionally, he did not request a helmet.Agents have theorized that he drew his name from a popular 70’s Belgian comic book series about a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot named Dan Cooper, who did many air related activities, including parachuting. Since these books were never translated into English nor imported into the United States, there is reason to believe that he was either from Europe or spent time there while in the air force. Alternatively, he could have been Canadian, where these comics were also available, which is plausible given that eyewitnesses said that he had no distinct accent.Tracing if and where Cooper landed is very difficult. Since he jumped out of a moving plane, even the slightest differences in wind speed and aircraft direction changed the possible landing zone drastically.An interesting piece of evidence is Cooper’s tie, which he took off and left on the plane before jumping off. Scientists were able to make use of powerful electron microscopes to identify thousands of particles of “rare earth elements” on his tie. The most notable of these were Cerium, Strontium sulfide and pure titanium. In 1971, titanium was very rare. The presence of titanium narrows down the occupation of Cooper to a select few managers or engineers in the titanium field that wore ties to work. In his time, the metal was almost exclusively used by the military in aircraft production. There is a possibility that he worded at Boeing, who were developing a supersonic plane that used many of the elements found on the tie, especially titanium. Overall, it is unlikely that we will ever know what exactly happened. There are just too many variables and not enough evidence. The FBI closed its investigation of the case in 2016 after 45 years. I feel that since we still don’t know even after decades, it is unlikely that we ever will. Based on the evidence that we do have, I choose to believe that Cooper spent time in the Air Force and was an executive at Boeing or a Military contractor at the time of the hijacking. I also believe that either he did not survive the plane jump, or he made it to the ground but did not last long after that. The fact that this hijacking happened relatively recently and its shrouds of mystery around it make it a very fascinating topic, no matter what you choose to believe.
July 18, 2019 0 Comments