D.B. Cooper, a 727, And $200,000: The Greatest Unsolved Mystery Of The '70s

CULTURE | May 14, 2023

source: FBI.gov

D.B. Cooper was a thief and a hijacker who escaped capture by jumping out of a Boeing 727 -- and left us with one of the biggest unsolved crimes of the '70s. The brazenness of Cooper's plan, the fact that he seemed to have executed it perfectly, and perhaps most of all his complete disappearance, has made him a folk hero in spite of our own law-abiding instincts.

Because, of course, you wouldn't steal $200,000, you wouldn't threaten a flight attendant with a supposed bomb, you wouldn't parachute out of that plane -- but man, wouldn't that be the way to go? You'd be halfway to anywhere, starting a new life with your suitcase full of cash, while the clueless FBI was still combing the woods near Mt. St. Helens.

Cooper, who actually did steal $200,000 on November 24, 1971, has never been found and he's never been identified, making this crime the only unsolved case of air piracy in the history of aviation. Long thought to be dead, Cooper remains a mystery with some FBI agents believing him to be dead in spite of the lack of a body, and others thinking that he's a member of their ranks.

The case was suspended in 2016, so we may never really know what actually happened with Cooper. His jump changed him from some guy in a suit with a job to a piece of real deal American mythology. We love the story of D.B. Cooper because it tells that we too can enter the annals of history with little more than a plan and the courage to jump.

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