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DB Cooper

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I'm not a dedicated Cooper researcher, I just follow along out of curiosity. But it seems like a lot of time is spent debating minute details that seem superfluous to me. To me, the main questions are, exactly how did he pull it off, and of course the biggie, who was he? Like the parachutes - how many, who owned them, their serial numbers...? To me the operative issues would be specific to the one he jumped:

1. The size. For instance, a heavier person under a smaller canopy might have a greater chance of spraining an ankle or something on landing, affecting his ability to hike out. But Cooper seems like an average size guy. If he had experience, could pull off a decent PLF, he probably could have landed any of those ok.

2.The type of canopy, specifically whether it was steerable or not. If not, then he's pretty much at the mercy of the winds as to how far he drifts, and more importantly, exactly where he lands. If he lands in trees, rocks, on a steep hillside..., he has more chance of being injured. If it was steerable, then he has a better chance of landing unscathed in a flat, open area of his choosing.

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On 4/17/2019 at 10:06 PM, RobertMBlevins said:

It's harder than people believe to COMPLETELY vanish from the face of the earth, especially in a purposeful manner. (Not counting plane crashes in the wilderness or falling off a ship, etc.)

One set of people that would probably know what happened to him is any of his relatives, the ones from HIS side of the family. It's hard to go the rest of your life without contacting someone from your side of the family. He might be able to avoid your mother's side, and probably would, but if anyone knows anything, it would come from his side somewhere. .

 

Melvin Wilson's only family was his mother, Evelyn Swartz, and his first wife/children who resided in the San Francisco area. His first wife and their children were very close to Evelyn and took care of her until she passed. He left his first family in 1956 after being released from San Quentin. According to his first wife, he never contacted their family again. His mother, Evelyn, died in 1994. When Melvin left his first family, he also left his mother. She never saw him again. When he met my mother, he said he was from Canada and was an orphan as his parents died when he was very young. 

I have submitted my DNA into 4 different DNA databases (such as Ancestry). So far, I have found a cousin on my father's side. The loophole?  Their family did not know their (and my) grandfather fathered my dad after moving (abandoning his wife and 7 children in Pennsylvania) to San Francisco, California in 1926. My grandfather died December 1944. 

So as far as our family is concerned, Melvin Wilson vanished from the face of the earth. 

 

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How far back to posts go on this topic of DB Cooper? I see February 2008, but it sounds like it goes back further than that.  I might not be using the search function correctly. I thought a FBI agent named Ckret posted on here at one point.

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3 hours ago, dudeman17 said:

I'm not a dedicated Cooper researcher, I just follow along out of curiosity. But it seems like a lot of time is spent debating minute details that seem superfluous to me. To me, the main questions are, exactly how did he pull it off, and of course the biggie, who was he? Like the parachutes - how many, who owned them, their serial numbers...? To me the operative issues would be specific to the one he jumped:

1. The size. For instance, a heavier person under a smaller canopy might have a greater chance of spraining an ankle or something on landing, affecting his ability to hike out. But Cooper seems like an average size guy. If he had experience, could pull off a decent PLF, he probably could have landed any of those ok.

2.The type of canopy, specifically whether it was steerable or not. If not, then he's pretty much at the mercy of the winds as to how far he drifts, and more importantly, exactly where he lands. If he lands in trees, rocks, on a steep hillside..., he has more chance of being injured. If it was steerable, then he has a better chance of landing unscathed in a flat, open area of his choosing.

28 ft non-steerable, winds were estimated by using/averaging over time the Portland and Salem data. Initially they thought from the W, then SSW but close to 8 PM they were ESE and were shifting to S and SSW. So, like almost everything in this case,,, ???

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(edited)

Found another FBI document... Parachutes found on plane

 

FBI doc page 4951

"On the floor directly in front of seat number 18D, the exterior canvas cover for a chest type parachute was observed along with the handle utilized for releasing this parachute.

The label on this canvas covering indicated it to be Pack Part Number 4511876B and indicated the date of manufacture to have been October, (year illegible). The flap on this canvas exterior contained a sewn on white label with the notation SSS # 5 and COSS. This flap had also been stenciled with the name JOHNSON.

An opened parachute which apparently had been removed from the canvas parachute cover described above was found spread out over seats 17C and 17B. This parachute was of a pink-orange color. 

On seat 18B, an unopened back type parachute was observed. A card in the pocket of this parachute reflected it to be a Conacol type parachute, number 60-9707 and made by the Pioneer Parachute Company.  This card indicated it was last inspected on May 21, 1971."

 

The Pioneer back chute 60-9707 left on the plane does not match the chute Hayden got back from the FBI.. that indicates one of Hayden's chutes was not sent to the plane and Cooper must have jumped with Cossey's chute.

1. MAKE: Pioneer TYPE: 26 ft white ripstop conical, SERIAL NO: 226, DATE OF MFR 9/57 (1957) --- packed by Cossey 5/21/71 (Hayden got this one back)

2. MAKE: Pioneer TYPE: 24 ft white ripstop conical, SERIAL NO:  60-9707DATE OF MFR: 7/60 (1960)  --- packed by Cossey 5/21/71 (This back chute was left on the plane, ID'd by National Guard in Reno)

chutefoundnorjak.jpeg.2a5fe69ee30cef2b40fc118636ccda6b.jpeg

 

chutes-1.jpg.678346ed93627ed588cd84ad967e84bb.jpg.1d108fed0aaf815f1b5f5c69d87d1ad4.jpg

Edited by FLYJACK

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(edited)

Something else - Supposedly Cooper was wearing loafers, presumably of the dress shoe variety (since he had a suit on). Unless those things were fairly snug, I would expect that they might likely blow off on a 200 mph exit. That means he would be landing and hiking out in his socks. I hope he had feet like Cody Lundin.

Edited by dudeman17

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(edited)

Some people have wondered exactly WHAT was in that paper bag Cooper carried. I keep wondering if it was a pair of boots, maybe a few other small items, but there is no way to tell. The former manager at the Ace Hardware in Des Moines, WA was in the Army Reserve at the time of the hijacking, and Gayla Prociv used to work with him back in the late 1990s. His name is Bill Rattie. He claimed to me that he was part of the group called up to do the search near Ariel. He also said he found a single brown loafer and turned it in to his superiors, but heard nothing else about it. 

This happened some years before I ever heard of KC or Skipp Porteous. Back in 2000, I believe, not long after I met Gayla. I know that isn't much...not expecting people to jump up and down about it. Bill later moved to Hawaii, but neither Gayla or I have heard from him in many years. Can't even be sure he is still there. Goes by Bill but full name is William Rattie. 

As far as the parachute question, i.e. could there have been FIVE chutes on board, I just don't know what's going on with that. All previous information going back decades has said only four chutes were provided and that one of them was the dummy trainer. So...I just don't know what to say on that. The reports are a bit conflicting in some parts. 

EDIT:  THIS is Bill Rattie's Facebook page. Damn. He hasn't made a post there since frickin' 2012, and I saw I had a message in to him six years ago that he didn't yet answer. I recognize him from his pictures there. How does someone do so much Facebook and then stop seven years ago? LOL. Oh, well. That's him, though. Frankly I'm starting to doubt his story. He said he was barely 18 in 1972, and that would make him about the same age as I am now. Hmm....he might not have been old enough in 1972 to BE in the Army...I will have to check this out further. I was trying to remember how old he looked in 2000, and he COULD have been about my age back then. Maybe. Until I can figure out a way to get hold of him with some pointed questions, his story should be taken with a grain of salt. 

EDIT: Well...maybe he WAS telling the truth. At least about being in the Army at the time of the hijacking. These places he lived match his history. But there isn't much else on the internet about him, unfortunately. I would have to drop a few bucks on one of those reports you can buy. One source says he's 68 now, the other says 62. Big difference in this case. Thinking back, I'm *fairly* sure we were about the same age when I would see him at the Ace Hardware back in 2000. I don't think he was younger than me. 

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Edited by RobertMBlevins

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6 hours ago, JJG78 said:

How far back to posts go on this topic of DB Cooper? I see February 2008, but it sounds like it goes back further than that.  I might not be using the search function correctly. I thought a FBI agent named Ckret posted on here at one point.

You would have to search further back. Yes, there was a previous thread on Cooper prior to the 2008 entries. It was locked for one reason or another, but it should be back there in the Stone Age somewhere. 

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17 minutes ago, RobertMBlevins said:

 

As far as the parachute question, i.e. could there have been FIVE chutes on board, I just don't know what's going on with that. All previous information going back decades has said only four chutes were provided and that one of them was the dummy trainer. So...I just don't know what to say on that. The reports are a bit conflicting in some parts. 

 

Robert, I think the part you're not getting about the 5/6 parachute theory is, that not all of them were on the plane. I'm not saying that I subscribe to this theory, indeed I'm just interested in the one he used and how it might affect the success of his jump, but as I understand it... Cooper asks for 4 parachutes. Maybe a couple different agents get on that, I dunno, but perhaps someone gets 2 from Hayden, someone else gets 4 from Cossey or Sky Sports or whoever, but they end up giving Cooper 4 out of the six. The other 2 are no longer in play. It sounds like the one Hayden got back may have been one of those, the other one seems unaccounted for. The part that I question about all of that is, at least 3 of the backpack ones are bailout rigs, certainly the ones they gave him were. The 2 front-mounts are useless from the get-go, regardless that one of them was a dummy, because they don't have harnesses, and don't attach to the bailout ones. I think I speculated on this before, but maybe they did that on purpose - he asks for 4, they give him 4, but 2 of them are unusable, limiting how many other people he may have forced to jump. But they gave him 4, if there were 1 or 2 others, they were never on the plane.

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(edited)

I think without a solid, upfront explanation on all this from the FBI, there is no way to tell for sure. The Seattle FBI might be a bit slack on some things regarding the Cooper case, but you would think they could settle this one somehow for sure. 

There is conflicting information going here. Agent Detlor submits a report saying only four total chutes were provided to the hijacker, and only four were delivered to the airport, two of them allegedly by Hayden. Neither of them was a 24' chute, neither of them was a belly pack. If two backpacks were found on board and Cooper jumped with a third backpack, this is also a conflicting bit of evidence. EDIT:  Hayden says Cooper jumped with his NB6-contained chute. Or NB8, whichever you believe. One thing we can eliminate, I think, is the idea Hayden would have owned a belly pack. I think that's 99% percent certain he wouldn't have bothered buying one. He wasn't very happy being forced to wear a bailout rig, I can tell you that much from the interview with him. Said 'the damn thing just gets in the way'. (Referring to doing sport flying with rolls, etc while wearing a backpack bailout rig.) So he's definitely not wearing a bailout rig AND a belly pack. No way. 

I have no answer for this question. To a certain extent,  there are two conflicting sources. Who the hell knows what the truth is? I certainly don't. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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(edited)

There is a lot of conflict. But I think the whole thing stems from - Flyjack thinks that the one Hayden got back was not the one they found on the plane.

Now you just said, "If two backpacks were found on board..." - but that's not right is it? I thought it was established that one backpack and one front-mount were found on board. So that's where the problem starts. Cooper uses one backpack, it's gone. One backpack is found on board. If that's not the one they gave back to Hayden, that would mean that that rig was never on the plane. A question - The front-mount that was found on board, did they give that one back to whoever it came from?

Got any more of those Excedrins?

Edited by dudeman17

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51 minutes ago, RobertMBlevins said:

One thing we can eliminate, I think, is the idea Hayden would have owned a belly pack. I think that's 99% percent certain he wouldn't have bothered buying one.

It is 100% certain that Hayden would not have a belly pack to go with his bailout backpack. They are not compatible. A sport skydiver uses a sport main parachute that he packs up and uses however many times he jumps. The 'belly pack' is a front-mount reserve, packed by a rigger, in case his main malfunctions. The bailout backpack, packed by a rigger, does not use a front-mount reserve, because it IS a reserve in case the pilot/plane malfunctions.

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(edited)

I think it's a screwup by the Reno FBI office in their reports. They name TWO chutes, but a reference to a third...

Then they say at the end of the report 'that is the end of evidence found on board...' Naming two chutes, but making reference to a THIRD canopy. 

Then you have a much more detailed, and more organized report on the chutes from Agent John Detlor in Seattle. He lays out exactly who provided what, and how many. 

The Reno stuff just doesn't make any sense. And why would they reference TWO canopies to what is obviously the SAME container? 

Until better evidence comes along, I have to go with the Detlor paper. 

Oh...we have fifteen confirmed apps to go on the camping/search trip now. And Nick B and Darren S have said they are stoked, and coming. I am going to cut it off at 36 apps and hope thirty show up. I can't do BBQ for many more than that number anyway. On Monday, to expedite this whole process, I'm going to load the video directly to the homepage at AB of Seattle and do a comprehensive text pitch to accompany it. That should help fill the rest of the slots. The minute we get to thirty-six I'm pulling the video, the WordPress article, and everything else. When we did the Eclipse Trip, a week prior to the eclipse more than a hundred people suddenly decided they wanted to go. It was totally crazy. I'm trying to avoid all that this time. But I just KNOW some of the people who are coming will probably try to bring a friend or something as well. (Now that I thought of this, I had better make sure that doesn't happen, and will include that restriction in the PDF document with the maps and information. We're responsible for everyone who goes and I can't allow non-sanctioned people to attend.) Don't know what will happen but I hope I can actually feed all these people on Saturday evening. B|

Yes...I do have a current Food Handlers license from the State of WA. We're going with chicken and hot dogs mainly. Easier to deal with than hamburgers. Side dishes will come from #10 cans only. Both the hot dogs and the number ten cans will come from Costco, along with the hot dog buns. I had good success with that at a couple of previous campouts. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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(edited)

There is another thing that adds to the chute confusion..

 

Cooper initially asked for only two chutes.. according the FBI docs he later asked for an additional two chest chutes..

That means Tina's statement about the note she dictated here is false.. or the FBI is hiding something or very confused.coopernotetinachutes.jpeg.eee97e96c65c35ad75580df6352a000f.jpeg

 

I wonder if Cooper asked for two "emergency" chutes and it got misinterpreted as "chest reserve" chutes. Perhaps different people requested chutes for Cooper and four back chutes were received with two going on the plane. All I know for sure is the Pioneer back chute Hayden got back wasn't the Pioneer chute left on the plane and it didn't come from Cooper so Cossey's chutes must have been used and he wasn't a liar.

The other possibility is the FBI is intentionally holding back info... they have been consistent in claiming four chutes went to Cooper, two back chutes, two front reserves with one the dummy.

 

 

 

fourchutesrequest.jpeg

cooperreq2chutes.jpeg

cooperchutedemandchange.jpeg

Edited by FLYJACK

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5 hours ago, RobertMBlevins said:

I think it's a screwup by the Reno FBI office in their reports. They name TWO chutes, but a reference to a third...

Then they say at the end of the report 'that is the end of evidence found on board...' Naming two chutes, but making reference to a THIRD canopy. 

 

They name 3 chutes as in evidence, not all items on the plane in Reno, the list also includes the airline ticket obtained from NorthWest.

"The following is a list of evidence obtained in this case:"

...

(3 chutes named)

The  back Pioneer Hayden got back.

The back Pioneer found on the plane which matches the packing date for Hayden's. (both the same)

The opened reserve chute.

 

Anyway you slice it there had to be more than 2 back chutes involved. 2 are accounted for and Cooper took one..

 

coopevidence.jpeg

Edited by FLYJACK

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I did read the documents you posted.

They reference a "24 foot long" parachute. (factual error - It's diameter).

They also reference the packing card. Which shows the 26' and DOM of 1957. 

I am going to guess (and it is just a guess) that they screwed up the report. They got a few minor details mixed up.

Everything I've come across says the FBI delivered 4 parachutes to Cooper. NB-8 & Pioneer (both back type bailout rigs), the 'good' reserve and the Training Dummy reserve (both 'belly wart' type).

They found one back rig (the Pioneer) and the 'good' reserve (which had been opened and had lines cut off) on the plane when it landed. So Cooper jumped with the NB-8 rig and did something with the TDR. He may have used lines or canopy fabric or the container...
Or he may have just tossed the whole thing out the back. 
Or he may have just put it too close to the back stairs and it fell out at some point.

 

I'm not sure how much I'm willing to believe or toss out what Cossey has said. Lots of skydivers and 'airplane types' have a great deal of disdain for the press. The overall level of accuracy in most news reports of aviation incidents and accidents is pretty poor. The level of sensationalism is usually pretty high. 
So you get reporters saying crap like 'He fell 10000 feet and survived the impact' for a simple skydiving accident which should read "He was fine until he screwed up the landing."
It's pretty juvenile and stupid, but giving reporters bad info to make them look bad is not uncommon. (remember the names of the Asiana Airline pilots who overran the end of the runway in San Fran?)

 

So for Cossey to 'yank the chain' of the reporters wouldn't necessarily make me discount what he says elsewhere.
But the FBI data is pretty clear that Cossey didn't own the back rigs. Which is what I was led to believe from previous info.

And (operating off of memory until the search function gets usable), the NB-8 had a modification that moved the ripcord location. As I noted earlier, I think it was an 'outboard' location. Standard placement is on the inside of the main lift web (vertical strap from hip to shoulder). The handle normally is placed so that it points inward, towards the sternum. This mod puts it on the outside of the MLW, pointing towards the arm. 
My understanding is that this was done to place it further from a nervous student. It would make it a bit more 'snag prone', but experienced jumpers and jump pilots know to protect their handles from snags and inadvertent pulls. 
Apparently this was a known mod for bailout rigs used by jump pilots. But Hayden wasn't that.

Sooooo...

Was the NB-8 Cossey's? Was it a jump pilot rig? 
Or was it a former jump pilot rig that was modified before Hayden got it (because he had to) and he didn't really care about where the handle was because he never planned on using it?

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Everything is lettered that was obtained from the plane. the page before the one above starts with "A" being the cigarette butts. the chute in question doesn't have a letter beside it representing evidence even though it states it was found on the plane. one would tend to believe it should be marked as "F" and the last chute (reserve opened) should be labeled "G" if this was the actual evidence found on the plane. 

page 1.png

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2 minutes ago, wolfriverjoe said:

I did read the documents you posted.

They reference a "24 foot long" parachute. (factual error - It's diameter).

They also reference the packing card. Which shows the 26' and DOM of 1957. 

I am going to guess (and it is just a guess) that they screwed up the report. They got a few minor details mixed up.

Everything I've come across says the FBI delivered 4 parachutes to Cooper. NB-8 & Pioneer (both back type bailout rigs), the 'good' reserve and the Training Dummy reserve (both 'belly wart' type).

They found one back rig (the Pioneer) and the 'good' reserve (which had been opened and had lines cut off) on the plane when it landed. So Cooper jumped with the NB-8 rig and did something with the TDR. He may have used lines or canopy fabric or the container...
Or he may have just tossed the whole thing out the back. 
Or he may have just put it too close to the back stairs and it fell out at some point.

 

I'm not sure how much I'm willing to believe or toss out what Cossey has said. Lots of skydivers and 'airplane types' have a great deal of disdain for the press. The overall level of accuracy in most news reports of aviation incidents and accidents is pretty poor. The level of sensationalism is usually pretty high. 
So you get reporters saying crap like 'He fell 10000 feet and survived the impact' for a simple skydiving accident which should read "He was fine until he screwed up the landing."
It's pretty juvenile and stupid, but giving reporters bad info to make them look bad is not uncommon. (remember the names of the Asiana Airline pilots who overran the end of the runway in San Fran?)

 

So for Cossey to 'yank the chain' of the reporters wouldn't necessarily make me discount what he says elsewhere.
But the FBI data is pretty clear that Cossey didn't own the back rigs. Which is what I was led to believe from previous info.

And (operating off of memory until the search function gets usable), the NB-8 had a modification that moved the ripcord location. As I noted earlier, I think it was an 'outboard' location. Standard placement is on the inside of the main lift web (vertical strap from hip to shoulder). The handle normally is placed so that it points inward, towards the sternum. This mod puts it on the outside of the MLW, pointing towards the arm. 
My understanding is that this was done to place it further from a nervous student. It would make it a bit more 'snag prone', but experienced jumpers and jump pilots know to protect their handles from snags and inadvertent pulls. 
Apparently this was a known mod for bailout rigs used by jump pilots. But Hayden wasn't that.

Sooooo...

Was the NB-8 Cossey's? Was it a jump pilot rig? 
Or was it a former jump pilot rig that was modified before Hayden got it (because he had to) and he didn't really care about where the handle was because he never planned on using it?

That doesn't make sense,, your analysis isn't comprehensive and taking into account all the info. Did you read ALL the FBI docs I posted.

On one report they stated "length" that was an error. The packing card only says 24' or 26'. So, even if the "length" error is discounted there is overwelhming documentation to show that the chute found on the plane wasn't the one Hayden received.

 

Hayden sent in 2 Pioneer back chutes both packed May 21/71..

The Pioneer found on  the plane doesn't match the one given back to Hayden..

It is a different diameter, different year, different serial number, packed same date as Hayden's as noted in several files.

Two Pioneer back chutes were taken into evidence, so there had to be more than 2 back chutes. Cossey claimed he sent in two of his personal chutes. It all fits.

Cooper jumped with one of Cossey's chutes, likely the customized 28 ft.

 

Some FBI files do claim Cossey owned the chute given Cooper.

 

Finally, Cossey claimed the chute Cooper took was modified. Why would Cossey modify only one of Hayden's two chutes, a customer? makes no sense.

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5 minutes ago, mrshutter45 said:

Everything is lettered that was obtained from the plane. the page before the one above starts with "A" being the cigarette butts. the chute in question doesn't have a letter beside it representing evidence even though it states it was found on the plane. one would tend to believe it should be marked as "F" and the last chute (reserve opened) should be labeled "G" if this was the actual evidence found on the plane. 

page 1.png

It isn't a list of evidence found on the plane, the airline ticket is there labelled D... it came from NorthWest.

coopevidence.jpeg

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Let me rephrase it...the evidence logged was obtained from the case, not just the plane. "physical evidence" not just what was on the plane. they are lettered A-F...one chute is not lettered. how or why it's there is uncertain but it appears not to be labeled as "physical evidence" 

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2 minutes ago, mrshutter45 said:

according to 377 a 24' canopy is not typically found in a NB6 or NB8. they are found in reserve chutes as I suspected earlier....

typically, doesn't mean they aren't.

 

Hard to refute this doc.. that back chute found on the plane is not the reserve and not the one given to Hayden.

The evidence is overwhelming that a back chute found left on the plane was not the one returned to Hayden.,, the FBI may be hiding something like maybe 3 back chutes went on the plane, who knows...

 

chutefoundnorjak.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, mrshutter45 said:

Let me rephrase it...the evidence logged was obtained from the case, not just the plane. "physical evidence" not just what was on the plane. they are lettered A-F...one chute is not lettered. how or why it's there is uncertain but it appears not to be labeled as "physical evidence" 

got it, but it was claimed to be found on the plane. The 1957 Hayden chute may be in evidence but never on the plane. 

Anyway you look at it, we have 2 back chutes plus the one Cooper used.

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