DB Cooper: A criminal fairytale

“Thank you for choosing Northwest Oriont Airlines,sir. Enjoy your flight”. The man snatched back his boarding pass and slipped it into his suit with élan. He sat down at 18C and lit a cigarette. His hairline suggested mid-forties and the black attaché gave him an air of business. As the plane took off, he ordered a bourbon and soda. The next time the air hostess passed him by, he passed her a note. He watched her crumple it and let it fall into her purse, treating him like just another lonely businessman eager for a lady to be in possession of his phone number. “Miss, you’d better look at that note, I have a bomb.”

Thus began the only unsolved crime in US Aviation history, the legend of DB Cooper. He has gone into folklore as a modern day Robin Hood, a criminal who was respected by the very people who were his victims. It was a bloodless crime, it’s only effect being a fractional impact on a big company’s deep pockets, and on the FBI’s bloated ego.

DB Cooper demanded 200,000$ in cash, four parachutes and a fuel truck waiting in Seattle to refuel the aircraft. After informing the passengers that their arrival in Seattle would be delayed, he ordered the pilot to circle around the airport till his demands were met. As the flight stopped in Seattle, Cooper offered to request meals for the flight crew, and even paid his drink tab (along with a tip). All the 36 passengers were released in Seattle, and Cooper collected his parachutes and ransom money in 20 dollar notes.

The aircraft took off again, with only Cooper and the flight crew. Cooper asked the crew to remain in the cockpit with the door closed. Soon after, a light started blinking, indicating that the aft air stair had been opened. The crew felt a drop in air pressure, and that was it. DB Cooper had disappeared, jumped off a plane with 200,000$ strapped to him.

He even got a character based on him (and named after him) in popular TV show ‘Prison Break’

The FBI launched the biggest manhunt in history to catch him, as every day he wasn’t caught was a slap in their face. They never managed to, and the fate of DB Cooper remains a mystery to this day.


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