Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where in the World is D. B. Cooper?

Check out this great story about the only unsolved domestic skyjacking case in American history. It happened the night before Thanksgiving in 1971. Like most unique crime stories, it had the honor of being made into a movie starring Robert Duvall and Treat Williams called The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper. I haven't seen the movie, but I'd be curious to know if it is even possible for a man jumping out of a plane shortly after take off into a storm to live. Also, why demand $200,000? Why not $300,000 or $1 million?

Above is a 1972 composite sketch of D. B. Cooper, who remains at large. The FBI compiled a case file on D. B. Cooper that is 60 volumes thick, but the case is still unsolved.

While D. B. Cooper never had to face any consequences for his crime, the American aviation industry certainly did. Namely, commercial flight safety precautions were amped up considerably through the introduction of metal detectors at airports. The FAA also added other flight rules, and required that modifications be made to the Boeing 727 aircraft. Namely, in 1972, the FAA required that all Boeing 727s be fitted with a wedge called the "Cooper vane" which prevents the rear stairway of an aircraft from being lowered in flight (this was how Cooper was able to skydive off the plane).

To read more about the exploits of D. B. Cooper including copycat crimes after his escape, check out this article at trutv.com.

*This post is for my brother Rick, my source on all things aviation related. Feel free to correct me if I got anything wrong.

[Image via Wikimedia]

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