D B Cooper ( Dan Cooper) Is the false name used by a skyjacker in 1971. He got on a plane with a plan to extort $200,000 and executed that plan to perfection. Perfection that is, if he lived. During the gentlest of such crimes he arranged for himself to be on a Boeing 727 with only the crew for company. The Northwest Orient Airlines plane had originally had many passengers, but Cooper had passed a note to the crew that led to them being dropped off. So subtle was this skyjack that the other travellers had no idea anything other than a delay had occurred. Ransom money and four parachutes were loaded onboard. Flight 305 flew on. Somewhere over South Western Washington State he dropped out of the back door into the darkness.
He became a modern day legend, an anti hero, 007 capable supervillain. He used threats yet no violence to get clean away with a sum close to $1 million in today’s cash. If, that is, he didn’t hit the ground like a stone and is still out there in endless wooded wilderness. The date was 24th November 1971 and ever since then hordes of people have been trying to track down who he really was and what happened to him. One bit of his trail was exposed years later when some of the money was found mouldering away. That indicated Cooper survived, yet even that is mired in myth and half truth.
The latest Netflix offering is a total of about four hours in as many episodes. Frankly even I, an Olympic standard time waster, felt robbed by watching it.
There is of course way more to the DB story than I have put up there. The crime was astounding for many reasons. It was still a crime though. You can’t threaten people with a bomb without doing harm. Fear is no small harm in a freezing cold sky in an age of people blowing up planes. That time period was just that, free and easy travel with the possibility of exploding in mid air, here I mention the Canadian Pacific flight that killed 52 people. The point is if you know nothing about DB Cooper watch the Netflix story as the series certainly goes into detail.
The reason I say it is a waste of time is because it starts with the quest to find out who he was and ends with no idea who he was. It is as much a documentary about obsession as it is anything else. I have a theory! No, you are wrong, we have a theory! No, You are all wrong this is the final solution, sort of thing.
In the mix is expensive chasing down of old men who may have been Cooper and the forming of web sleuth type groups. It is Ripperology all over again.
Take a mystery like Who Was Jack The Ripper? Now mix it with endless books on the subject written of course by authors who want a pay out. Then add enthusiast’s views and comments. Mix in with countless articles and revelations and bake for as long as you like. What you can get at the end is a marvellously intriguing way to spend your life. You won’t be able to get a solution though. If there was a chance of a unicorn like result it is lost under the weight of ideas and misinformation.
That is how the tale of the besuited skydiver seems to have gone. The Netflix series did nothing to unravel a thread of it.
There were really nice people featured that saw the unsolved crime for what it was, an interesting subject to divert your mind for a bit. One of the central commentators was just such a person. I liked him. He runs a podcast and said in episode four that after all effort he feels he knows less now than when he started.
Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of a brutal murder case in Birmingham, England. Jodine Brown was found by her mother under a duvet on her bedroom floor. She had been beaten and strangled. She had been there four days. The chances are no matter what the like of me or the DB fans did we could not unravel the mystery as to who killed her. However, her case had three mentions on Google. All local press. This website now has added a fourth mention. DB Cooper killed no-one, he extorted money over 50 years ago and his name is everywhere. That doesn’t seem right. There are plenty of Jodine Brown type cases in the USA and Canada.