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DB Cooper

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(edited)

I would say your assessment of the situation today regarding the Cooper case is pretty accurate. I get hacked on occasionally and some of it probably has to do with the movie option thing. Let me be frank about this, something I have not done before. They came to me with money in their hands in Feb 2017. Who would turn that down? They pay me $2,000 on or around Feb 1 each year (it actually came as 2K first year, 1,500 second, 2,500 this year) and I keep happily cashing the checks. I financed my truck with the second payment. I have no idea whether they will actually get around to MAKING the film. This year, a famous young actor from Seattle joined the production team, so maybe they will finally do it. We had a private meeting in Seattle at the end of January this year..of all places...at the Queen Anne Hill Dick's Drive In burger place. It's the only Dick's with inside seating LOL. But there are no guarantees and if they don't end up making the picture, I still get to keep the money. So ask yourself what you would do in my position. You would probably take the money because it was a no-lose deal. You can call me a sell-out. It won't hurt my feelings. 

Bruce S...well...he wants nothing to do with the movie and I have accepted that, too. The movie guys wanted to offer him a contract for $15,000 to review parts of any script between the part when Cooper boards and when he jumps...mainly to ensure historical accuracy. But there is no finished script yet, although they are looking at two 'treatments' from two different writers and will pick one of them to write the final version. Who knows if they will EVER make the movie? At some point either they will, or they will stop paying the option. Part of the reason this offer was made was so they could list Bruce in the credits as a co-producer and name his book as well. He may have had a problem with being associated with a movie based on KC's life, and I can understand that. I sure bugged him a lot trying to convince him to just take the contract, but it was no way. 

Except for the yearly payments, this whole Cooper thing has become a PITA more or less. Being under a confidentiality agreement for OVER two years now is a REAL PITA. I'd rather be fishing or camping, I swear. 

I don't mind discussing the case, but there is still some amount of discord going. And I have no plans to be a part of that anymore, at least not at Dropzone. No way. I guess you get jaded about the whole thing. Tired, whatever. Even bored to an extent. Hearing about a suspect OTHER than KC is actually interesting. 

EveningViewSite.jpg

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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1 hour ago, wolfriverjoe said:

Flyjack - I think I remember Cooper wanting the stairs down for takeoff. The crew refused, saying it couldn't be done. It could have, as was found out at the end of the Viet Nam war, during the fall of Saigon. People were running up to and boarding a 727 with the stairs down as it taxied out and even at the beginning of the takeoff roll. 
The reserve parachutes of the time did not have a pilot chute (it's not a drogue, that's different). The reserve was deployed by opening the container (pack) and then executing a 'scoop and toss' move. 

The question of what Cooper wrapped the money in and how he secured it has been discussed to death on here. Again, from memory, I think the consensus was that he used the cloth bag the bank brought the money in and secured it with paracord from the opened reserve. 

 

Cooper initially demanded for airstairs to be lowered in flight by Tina. It is absolutely clear in the FBI files. Everyone has repeated the myth that he initially asked for airstairs down on take off and extrapolated that he must have had inside info on the 727 airstairs. The pilots were negotiating with him to get Tina off the plane so they could attempt an escape, that is when the airstairs down on takeoff came up. Pilots were trying to convince Cooper to allow Tina off the plane. So, Cooper did not have to have some inside info.. the consensus was wrong.

 

This is from the FBI files... it is not my opinion..

Dated… 11/26/71 FBI file p 1672

"On 11/26/71 SAC CAMPBELL from Las Vegas, advised that when they entered the airplane there was an open parachute in the plane, draped over one of the seats in the the hijacker was located, which parachute was white.

Examination of this parachute reveals there was no drogue chute on it.

The stewardess on the plane when interviewed said that the hijacker was upset when the money was not delivered in a knapsack. As a result she saw him wrap this money in some white material.

SAC CAMPBELL speculates that the money was wrapped in the chute. He advised the second parachute in the plane is a backpack, which has never been opened. It is pink and it is being taken to the National Guard in Reno at once to see if it is in workable condition."

 

Now. the reserve chute was pink not white, did the agent actually find the dummy reserve?? would the dummy/practice reserve have a drogue?

Here are images of the pink reserve chute, any indication of a drogue or pilot?

https://citizensleuths.com/pink-parachute-gallery.html

 

Tina claimed Cooper wrapped the money in white material, he may have wrapped the money bag in part of the chute to better tie it up.

"“All emergency bailout rigs, such as the ones provided to DB Cooper, would have a pilot chute,” Metzler said."

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(edited)

Let me put up the document done by FBI agent John S Detlor shortly after the hijacking. It might clear up some stuff. (Also...as far as I know ALL chutes have a pilot chute or some kind of drogue, even reserves, although a trainer might not have one. But then, the trainer was missing when the flight landed in Reno anyway.)

 

HaydenCosseyFBIExcerpt.jpg

pinkchutepilotmaybe.jpg

I interviewed Norman Hayden one time for about an hour by telephone. His story backs up to a 'T' what Agent Detlor said about the type and delivery of the chutes. Hayden got the unopened MAIN chute returned to him, which ended up in the WA State History Museum. The FBI still has the pink, WORKING reserve. (Well, it DID work before Cooper cut the lines. B|) Cooper jumped with the OTHER main chute. The trainer was never found. That's all I know about it. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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(edited)
1 hour ago, RobertMBlevins said:

...(Also...as far as I know ALL chutes have a pilot chute or some kind of drogue, even reserves, although a trainer might not have one. But then, the trainer was missing when the flight landed in Reno anyway.)

 

pinkchutepilotmaybe.jpg

I interviewed Norman Hayden one time for about an hour by telephone. His story backs up to a 'T' what Agent Detlor said about the type and delivery of the chutes. Hayden got the unopened MAIN chute returned to him, which ended up in the WA State History Museum. The FBI still has the pink, WORKING reserve. (Well, it DID work before Cooper cut the lines. B|) Cooper jumped with the OTHER main chute. The trainer was never found. That's all I know about it. 

 

1 hour ago, FLYJACK said:

 

Here are images of the pink reserve chute, any indication of a drogue or pilot?

https://citizensleuths.com/pink-parachute-gallery.html

 

Tina claimed Cooper wrapped the money in white material, he may have wrapped the money bag in part of the chute to better tie it up.

"“All emergency bailout rigs, such as the ones provided to DB Cooper, would have a pilot chute,” Metzler said."

Ok, I could be wrong about the airstairs. I could be 'misremembering' or the consensus of the group was wrong. But the idea that Cooper had some inside info may not be wrong. He wanted them down in flight. As 377 noted, it's not in the operating handbook, the pilots didn't know it could be done. 

But Mr Blevins is incorrect about the idea that all canopies have pilot chutes. Modern ones do, but not the old reserves. To be clear, a modern main usually has a 'throw out' pilot chute, where the jumper grabs a handle attached to the pilot chute itself and throws it out into the airflow. The pilot chute is attached to a bridle (long strap) that is attached to the closing pin (small curved pin that holds the container closed) and then the deployment bag, where the actual canopy is folded up and stowed. A reserve has an actual ripcord, and a spring loaded pilot chute. When the reserve ripcord is pulled, the reserve container opens (the main & reserve are right above and below each other on the jumper's back) the spring launches the pilot chute out, which is again attached to a bridle that is attached to the deployment bag, where the canopy is folded and stowed. 

 

"Old School' chest mount reserves did NOT have a pilot chute. The entire canopy was tossed out by the jumper to deploy it. The part of the pink canopy where the arrow is pointing is simply the 'apex' of the canopy. Rounds have a hole in the top center. The lines run up the canopy and over the top as a continuous line over the entire canopy. Each individual line runs up from a riser, through the canopy, over the top and back down the other side to another riser. The bundle of lines at the arrow is just all of the lines crossing the top of the canopy. The link to the Citizen's Sleuth page doesn't show any pilot chute either. There are a couple pics that show the whole thing laid out on a table. The top (apex) of the canopy is visible. A pilot chute would be a small (~2' diameter, with a 2' long/6" diameter coil spring inside it) parachute attached to the top of the canopy with a long (6' or so) strap. 

 

Old main canopies had pilot chutes. Modern round canopies do too. Most that are in use today are in what we call 'pilot rigs', which are emergency bailout rigs worn by various types of pilots (jump planes, acrobatic, that sort of thing). 

The rig that Cooper (apparently) jumped was a Navy emergency bailout rig. It was not a 'sport rig' used by skydivers. It was the second rig described above. This would have had a pilot chute. But it wasn't a sport reserve. 

An emergency bailout rig and a sport reserve (chest mount) are two very different things. 

Mr Blevins - I didn't see your first response at first, so I didn't quote it. No, I don't think you are a 'sellout'. You are a professional writer. You write stuff, you get paid for it. If you weren't at least a little bit passionate about what you wrote, it wouldn't be anywhere near as good. But I felt before that your passion for what you wrote about KC over rode common sense. You were disregarding the stuff that made him less of a suspect because it didn't line up with your beliefs. Normal, but still wrong. Time often gives us a bit more objectivity and perspective. 

 

Edit to add: This is a link to a 'for sale' ad for a spring loaded pilot chute. This is similar to what would have been in the Navy Bailout rig. The strap on the bottom is the bridle, it would be attached to the top of the pink reserve at the line bundle (at the arrow) if it had one.
https://www.flighthelmet.com/product/PEQ-1112.html

Edited by wolfriverjoe

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(edited)

Okay, I will buy into the idea that these older chutes required you to toss out the whole canopy to inflate them. I am certainly no expert on parachutes. Heck, the closest times I have ever been to one was seeing that Cooper chute at the WA State History Museum, and some pictures of an NB8 full rig for sale at eBay. (almost bought it. was only 275 bucks and complete) Other than that, no...I am a complete novice. 

If it is true that Cooper asked to have the airstairs lowered before takeoff, but that this was refused on the grounds of safety...about the only reason I could figure why he would want that is because he wasn't planning to stay aboard very long after takeoff. It's even occurred to me that he planned to jump further north than where he ended up, but goofing off with the pink chute, having to wrap the money, get the stairs down, etc delayed his timetable somehow. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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10 hours ago, RobertMBlevins said:

If it is true that Cooper asked to have the airstairs lowered before takeoff, but that this was refused on the grounds of safety...about the only reason I could figure why he would want that is because he wasn't planning to stay aboard very long after takeoff. It's even occurred to me that he planned to jump further north than where he ended up, but goofing off with the pink chute, having to wrap the money, get the stairs down, etc delayed his timetable somehow. 

That is the problem, Cooper didn't initially demand Airstairs down on take off. If he did then it indicates he wanted to jump soon after take off. This is what everyone assumed myself included, but as more FBI files were released it is absolutely clear that his initial demand was for Tina to lower in flight. Airstairs down on take off came up later during negotiations wth crew.

Looks like the back chutes had pilot chutes and the front reserves did not, but did they have a "missing" drogue chute? Different from a pilot?

 

If Cooper wrapped the money in white material it had to be the missing drogue chute from the good reserve (if it had one) or from the dummy reserve which was completely missing.

 

Did some digging on the chutes..

FBI NOTES P 1541
PARACHUTES FURNISHED TO SUBJECT ARE DESCRIBED AS: 
TWO FRONT CHEST CHUTES, TWENTYFOUR FEET IN DIAMETER, ALL WHITE 
NYLON, MODEL T-SEVEN A, WHITE SHROUDS, ABOUT FOURTEEN FEET LONG.
NUMBER ONE CONTAINER HAS “_______”  WRITTEN ON IT, AND 
lS ABOUT TEN BY THIRTEEN INCHES, OLIVE DRAB. 
NUMBER TWO CONTAINER HAS _____________ ON A WHITE PATCH WHICH IS SEWN TO CONTAINER.


FBI NOTES P 1578
PRIOR TO HOSTESS DEPARTING FROM PASSENGER CABIN, HIJACKER TOLD HER MONEY BAG NOT IN ACCORDANCE INSTRUCTIONS AND TO CUT UP OF THE PARACHUTES TO REWRAP THE MONEY 

FBI NOTES P 1620
Subject believed tohave used parachutes described as follows;
1. Chest pack type 24 foot white nylon canopy, white nylon about 14” in length. model T-7A, 


FBI NOTES P 1908
CHEST PACK PARACHUTE OF BRIGHT PINK, ORANGE COLOR, DETERMINED BY MILITARY EXPERTS TO BE IN OPERABLE CONDITION. HOWEVER, IT WAS OPENED WITH THE DROUGE CHUTE MISSING IN THE AIRPLANE. 

 

FBI notes P 3114
EARL J. COSSEY, 349 North 101st, Seattle, advised that the pilot chutes on both of the back pack parachutes which were furnished to the hijacker on 11/24/71, were white in color. He stated that also the back pack chute which was missing from the aircraft upon its arrival at Reno, Nevada, was white in color.
Concerning the chest pack parachutes, he stated that these parachutes are hand deployed and do not contain pilot chutes. The chest pack chute which was sewn up as practice chute and which was missing from the airplane was also white in color. 

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7 minutes ago, FLYJACK said:

That is the problem, Cooper didn't initially demand Airstairs down on take off. If he did then it indicates he wanted to jump soon after take off. This is what everyone assumed myself included, but as more FBI files were released it is absolutely clear that his initial demand was for Tina to lower in flight. Airstairs down on take off came up later during negotiations wth crew.

Looks like the back chutes had pilot chutes and the front reserves did not, but did they have a "missing" drogue chute? Different from a pilot?

 

If Cooper wrapped the money in white material it had to be the missing drogue chute from the good reserve (if it had one) or from the dummy reserve which was completely missing...

 


...FBI NOTES P 1908
CHEST PACK PARACHUTE OF BRIGHT PINK, ORANGE COLOR, DETERMINED BY MILITARY EXPERTS TO BE IN OPERABLE CONDITION. HOWEVER, IT WAS OPENED WITH THE DROUGE CHUTE MISSING IN THE AIRPLANE. 

 

FBI notes P 3114
EARL J. COSSEY, 349 North 101st, Seattle, advised that the pilot chutes on both of the back pack parachutes which were furnished to the hijacker on 11/24/71, were white in color. He stated that also the back pack chute which was missing from the aircraft upon its arrival at Reno, Nevada, was white in color.
Concerning the chest pack parachutes, he stated that these parachutes are hand deployed and do not contain pilot chutes. The chest pack chute which was sewn up as practice chute and which was missing from the airplane was also white in color. 

This is one of the problems with taking the FBI files as 'gospel'.

Cossey clearly stated that the chest reserves are 'hand deployed and do not contain pilot chutes'. 
Yet they still seem to think that the pink reserve is 'missing a drogue.' They also can't spell it. 

 

To a large degree, 'drogue' and 'pilot chute' are used interchangeably. It's not totally correct, but that's how it goes.

A pilot chute is a small parachute that is used during the deployment process. In the case of a modern sport main, it pulls the bridle out, pulls the closing pin from the closing loop (opening the container), pulls the deployment bag out to line stretch (lines are stowed in 'bights', s-folded and held in place with rubber bands), pulls the bag off of the canopy, and then is collapsed as the canopy spreads out and opens. (yes, there are some variations, but this is the general process)

 

A drogue is a small parachute used to stabilize and/or slow down the jumper (or other load) during freefall (technically droguefall). Kittinger used a drogue during his record jump. Both to stabilize him and to keep the speed down where the air was very thin. Tandems use a drogue once out of the plane, both to stabilize the tandem pair and to keep the speed down so that the main doesn't blow up on opening. Tandem terminal is really fast and pretty dangerous.
On his record jump, Felix didn't use a drogue. He had a serious issue with a flat spin (he got out of it) and sped up to supersonic speeds. 

Part of the confusion is because the most common place a drogue is seen is on tandems. Tandem rigs use the drogue as both the drogue and pilot chute. 

 

I hope this doesn't come across as too critical or condescending. I'm interested in the truth, in figuring out who got on the plane as "Dan Cooper." 
The issue is that jumping and the gear used is pretty specialized, can be confusing to folks who don't know what's what, and the sport uses terminology that is complicated, counterintuitive, and very specific.
The funny part is that the slang is a very simple and effective way to identify poseurs. 

It's pretty clear that the person who wrote those notes was not familiar with parachutes or jumping. 

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5 minutes ago, wolfriverjoe said:

This is one of the problems with taking the FBI files as 'gospel'.

Cossey clearly stated that the chest reserves are 'hand deployed and do not contain pilot chutes'. 
Yet they still seem to think that the pink reserve is 'missing a drogue.' They also can't spell it. 

 

To a large degree, 'drogue' and 'pilot chute' are used interchangeably. It's not totally correct, but that's how it goes.

A pilot chute is a small parachute that is used during the deployment process. In the case of a modern sport main, it pulls the bridle out, pulls the closing pin from the closing loop (opening the container), pulls the deployment bag out to line stretch (lines are stowed in 'bights', s-folded and held in place with rubber bands), pulls the bag off of the canopy, and then is collapsed as the canopy spreads out and opens. (yes, there are some variations, but this is the general process)

 

A drogue is a small parachute used to stabilize and/or slow down the jumper (or other load) during freefall (technically droguefall). Kittinger used a drogue during his record jump. Both to stabilize him and to keep the speed down where the air was very thin. Tandems use a drogue once out of the plane, both to stabilize the tandem pair and to keep the speed down so that the main doesn't blow up on opening. Tandem terminal is really fast and pretty dangerous.
On his record jump, Felix didn't use a drogue. He had a serious issue with a flat spin (he got out of it) and sped up to supersonic speeds. 

Part of the confusion is because the most common place a drogue is seen is on tandems. Tandem rigs use the drogue as both the drogue and pilot chute. 

 

I hope this doesn't come across as too critical or condescending. I'm interested in the truth, in figuring out who got on the plane as "Dan Cooper." 
The issue is that jumping and the gear used is pretty specialized, can be confusing to folks who don't know what's what, and the sport uses terminology that is complicated, counterintuitive, and very specific.
The funny part is that the slang is a very simple and effective way to identify poseurs. 

It's pretty clear that the person who wrote those notes was not familiar with parachutes or jumping. 

There are many errors, conflicts and opinions in the FBI files.. it is the nature of an ongoing investigation.

Tina claimed Cooper tried to put the money into an unfolded parachute.. if there was no drogue was that the "missing" dummy chute or the pink reserve?

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I would guess that its the missing training dummy reserve (TDR). We covered this item in detail. It was a reserve canopy that had been cut up and resewed with several panels missing. It was used to teach the 'scoop and toss' deployment technique. The idea was that it could be flaked, S-folded & shoved back in the reserve container very quickly during training. Getting a 'real' reserve back in the container takes a bit of time. It was not airworthy and the container had a big red "X" on it, denoting 'not usable'. Nobody has yet come up with a good reason why something so obviously marked was taken. Other than the idea that the cops/agents who got it from Skysports had zero clue what they were taking. 

The screwy part about this is that Cooper needed some sort of 'container' to hold the money. He asked for a 'knapsack', but didn't get one. I have no idea how he planned on wearing both a knapsack (backpack) AND a rig going out the door. 

He seems to have wrapped the money up in 'white cloth', which would match with the TDR canopy. However, he had a perfectly usable container. The TDR container. It is a small bag, that closes very securely and is designed to be attached to a rig in a way that doesn't interfere with normal operation.

But he took the Navy bailout rig, not the Pioneer sport rig (I seem to recall the other back rig was this). The Pioneer would have had 'D-rings' that were the attachment points for the reserve. The Navy rig did not have those. 

So, presuming the info is correct, he chose to wrap the money in a loose piece of cloth when he had a 'bag' available. He chose to tie it around his waist or to the rig, when he could have attached the TDR container to the sport rig, using the attachments designed for that purpose. 

Wrapping the money in a loose piece of cloth is pretty sketchy. Unless you've been there, the force of the air at freefall is hard to comprehend. Anything loose flaps in the wind and beats on you (Helpful hint - don't wear a shirt with a collar in freefall, it hurts). Anything not tied down will flap & fray. One jump and the collar of that shirt was trashed. Even with lots of paracord wrapped around a bundle, the probability of the money staying inside the whole way down is not super high. The probability of the bundle staying tied to him is also not super high. 

Lots of ideas and guesses that this may have been part of the reason the money on Tena Bar was found. Problem with this is how did it get there. Safecrack PLF did a boatload of work on that issue.

TL/DR: Cooper would have used the canopy from the TDR, presuming that what Tina saw is what happened, and what is written down is what she saw. Eyewitness testimony is not super reliable. 
 

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46 minutes ago, wolfriverjoe said:

I would guess that its the missing training dummy reserve (TDR). We covered this item in detail. It was a reserve canopy that had been cut up and resewed with several panels missing. It was used to teach the 'scoop and toss' deployment technique. The idea was that it could be flaked, S-folded & shoved back in the reserve container very quickly during training. Getting a 'real' reserve back in the container takes a bit of time. It was not airworthy and the container had a big red "X" on it, denoting 'not usable'. Nobody has yet come up with a good reason why something so obviously marked was taken. Other than the idea that the cops/agents who got it from Skysports had zero clue what they were taking. 

The screwy part about this is that Cooper needed some sort of 'container' to hold the money. He asked for a 'knapsack', but didn't get one. I have no idea how he planned on wearing both a knapsack (backpack) AND a rig going out the door. 

He seems to have wrapped the money up in 'white cloth', which would match with the TDR canopy. However, he had a perfectly usable container. The TDR container. It is a small bag, that closes very securely and is designed to be attached to a rig in a way that doesn't interfere with normal operation.

But he took the Navy bailout rig, not the Pioneer sport rig (I seem to recall the other back rig was this). The Pioneer would have had 'D-rings' that were the attachment points for the reserve. The Navy rig did not have those. 

So, presuming the info is correct, he chose to wrap the money in a loose piece of cloth when he had a 'bag' available. He chose to tie it around his waist or to the rig, when he could have attached the TDR container to the sport rig, using the attachments designed for that purpose. 

Wrapping the money in a loose piece of cloth is pretty sketchy. Unless you've been there, the force of the air at freefall is hard to comprehend. Anything loose flaps in the wind and beats on you (Helpful hint - don't wear a shirt with a collar in freefall, it hurts). Anything not tied down will flap & fray. One jump and the collar of that shirt was trashed. Even with lots of paracord wrapped around a bundle, the probability of the money staying inside the whole way down is not super high. The probability of the bundle staying tied to him is also not super high. 

Lots of ideas and guesses that this may have been part of the reason the money on Tena Bar was found. Problem with this is how did it get there. Safecrack PLF did a boatload of work on that issue.

TL/DR: Cooper would have used the canopy from the TDR, presuming that what Tina saw is what happened, and what is written down is what she saw. Eyewitness testimony is not super reliable. 
 

Neither back chute had D rings..

I tried but couldn't confirm/source a "red X" on the dummy, there was an X and red flaps.. but no confirmation of a "red X". The red X came from this forum possibly conflating the X and red flaps.

 

If Cooper tied the money bag to his body then what happened to the dummy container and chute? Why would it be missing if he used it to wrap the money but went back to the money bag? If he used the container plus the money bag, why are the contents missing? Would he throw an opened chute off the plane? or did he actually use it.  Perhaps he used the money bag then wrapped it with the dummy chute and tied it to his body.. then what happened to the container? and why did the FBI agent claim to find an opened "white" chute on the plane?

 

BTW, looking at the cut lines from the reserve, couldn't the FBI get DNA, Cooper would have to be holding the lines to cut them.

 

 

 

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If the "civilian luxury type" rig was a sport rig (for sport skydiving) it should have had D-rings. 
If it was an emergency bailout rig (pilot rig) it would not.

I always thought it was a sport rig, but that may have simply been an assumption on the part of the forum. 

It's entirely possible the 'red X' was an X and red flaps. 

Where did everything go? 
Damned good question. While it is a huge wilderness area, I recall that a placard from the plane was found. 

Did he leave the money in the bag, wrap it in the canopy, then stuff it in the container? Doubtful. To much bulk to fit. 

He didn't use the TDR canopy, it wasn't usable as a canopy. Or if he tried, it wouldn't have gone well.

Why did one agent claim to find a white canopy? Again, good question. In the notes above, it says both canopies are white. Maybe, in the poor light of the airliner, it looked white. 

I don't know about DNA. First off, it was pretty much unknown back then. Would there be enough material (sweat?) to obtain DNA? Would it be viable after all that time? 

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1 hour ago, wolfriverjoe said:

If the "civilian luxury type" rig was a sport rig (for sport skydiving) it should have had D-rings. 
If it was an emergency bailout rig (pilot rig) it would not.

I always thought it was a sport rig, but that may have simply been an assumption on the part of the forum. 

It's entirely possible the 'red X' was an X and red flaps. 

Where did everything go? 
Damned good question. While it is a huge wilderness area, I recall that a placard from the plane was found. 

Did he leave the money in the bag, wrap it in the canopy, then stuff it in the container? Doubtful. To much bulk to fit. 

He didn't use the TDR canopy, it wasn't usable as a canopy. Or if he tried, it wouldn't have gone well.

Why did one agent claim to find a white canopy? Again, good question. In the notes above, it says both canopies are white. Maybe, in the poor light of the airliner, it looked white. 

I don't know about DNA. First off, it was pretty much unknown back then. Would there be enough material (sweat?) to obtain DNA? Would it be viable after all that time? 

Bruce went and checked out the chute,

https://themountainnewswa.net/2011/10/25/db-cooper-case-heats-up-again-with-controversy-over-parachutes/

 

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(edited)

I haven't heard any mentions yet about Tina's statements (from long ago information) stating that she saw Cooper cutting lines from the pink chute and wrapping them around the bank bag and tying another around his waist. Lines WERE cut, after all. Statements also made allegedly claiming Tina wanted one of the lines to tie to herself to avoid being sucked from jet when Cooper (or she) decided it was time to open the airstairs. Are we to assume this is all incorrect information?

1) Pioneer >>> Unused. Untouched. Sits in the WA State History Museum today. 

2) NB rig>>>>Used by Cooper. Cooper indicates he doesn't need the instructions allegedly provided by FBI or other person(s). Source: Allegedly Tina.

3) Trainer reserve>>>Not found on board. Still missing. 

4) Pink reserve>>>Found on board intact, except some lines cut from it. However, new information cannot determine whether it had a drogue/pilot...or never had one at all. Possible answer to last question:  ASK Tom Kaye. 

OPINION:  It seems doubtful that Cooper would transfer all of the money into a parachute if the money was already stacked in a bank bag. The story of wrapping lines around it to secure it, and then securing the bag to himself is more likely. But with this new information, created by people in the FBI who knew next to nothing about skydiving....really true? Maybe the so-called 'original' story is more likely to be true. 

OPINION: If the original story is true, it is my opinion that Cooper tossed out the dummy reserve from the rear of the plane before he jumped, along with the briefcase, and possibly the placard, to throw off any ground search later. OR>>>>>The placard WAS ripped free by the airstream when the stairs were opened, and the remaining items were tossed out just before Cooper jumped>>>for the same reason>>>to throw off a ground search should these items later be found. The briefcase and its contents would have been evidence anyway, and it is nearly certain Cooper would not want to leave that on board. I think it is safe to assume that the briefcase did not go out of the jet on its own accord, which means Cooper tossed it out. If he tossed one item, why not another? 

Attached below: Within a few feet, this is the spot where they found the placard and what it looks like today. In 1971 it was more heavily wooded. I wrote a WordPress article last year about this, with better pictures, suggesting that if you wanted to locate the missing trainer, briefcase, etc you could search in this area or slightly south of there. The article contains an interactive Google Map of the area.

(The 'campsite' reference in the picture from the article means AB of Seattle was once considering hosting a public campout here, where people would participate in a ground search, possibly using a metal detector.) 

 

PlacardMapShot.jpg

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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Interesting.

So the Pioneer was a bailout rig, not a sport rig.

In a way, that's absolutely hilarious. 

Cooper demands two back & two chest parachutes, but neither of the back rigs is capable of having the chest reserve attached to it.

Apparently nobody (including Cooper) knew enough about the gear to catch this. 

 

For the record, I had read the entire first thread, and the second one up to where I started posting. I kept current on it for some time, but gave up after a while due to idiocy. It reached the point where the idiocy and bickering overpowered the actual discussion and I gave up. I would pop back in from time to time, but it never changed.
So I probably missed some info, and am operating off of memory on most of this.

 

It's kind of interesting that the Packing Data Card shows Cossey's sig & cert #, yet Hayden claims to have never met him. Also, the repack date on the card is May 21. At that time the repack interval was 120 days (I think). That means the rig was legal to jump until mid September. Even today, the repack interval is 180 days. By Nov 24th, the rig would be 'out of date' and need a fresh I&R to be legal. So the FBI gave Cooper gear that wasn't legal to jump. 
There's a couple mentions of a 'confidential seal number'. There's nothing 'confidential' about it. It's a matter of public record and is on each seal the rigger uses. Current PDCs have a spot for it, next to the rigger's sig & cert#.

 

Also, the modification to the ripcord on the Navy rig that was used was discussed on here. The location was moved from the right side to the left. This was apparently a 'not uncommon' mod, preferred by jump pilots because it placed the handle out of reach of frightened students sitting next to them. It was also set up as a 'two stage' pull. The handle had to be pulled up and out to get it out of the pocket, then down to pull the pin & open the container. The danger of having a student accidentally open the pilot's emergency parachute while the door is open should be obvious. When I was flying a 182 jump plane, I had a tandem student grab my leg right above the knee when the door opened. She left bruises.


Again, the conflicting info and different stories are a big part of the issue. Without basic facts that we can trust, sorting any of this out is going to be extremely difficult.

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Read your post and was sitting here trying to remember everything Norman Hayden told me on the phone. I spoke to him for about an hour. But it's been a few years. I will do a list on the stuff I can remember for SURE. 

  • He says he bought two chutes, but only did so because new FAA rules for sport flying required it. He didn't like parachutes at all, he said. 
  • I am 99 percent sure he said he just dropped off the chutes for repacking, and that could be why he never actually MET Cossey. 
  • Said he did not 'loan' NWA the chutes, but 'rented' them to the airline, and that he was eventually paid by the airline. This payment was not nearly the actual cost of the chutes, but much less. 
  • Said that he got tired of the FBI not returning the Pioneer to him, and finally had a lawyer write a single letter to the FBI requesting the chute be returned to him. Said he did not 'sue' the FBI, just had the lawyer write the one letter and it worked. They returned the chute. He later donated it to the WA State History Museum. 
  • Wasn't sure of exact date of purchase of the chutes, but that he bought both of them at the same time and it could have been as far back as 1968.
  • Says he never opened, or saw the inside of either chute, and only wore one during sport flying because he had to, and never liked doing it. 

Don't want to go on any more on this because I would have to look at my old notes, otherwise it would be speculation, but that's what I remember from the interview for sure. Picture below of the rig currently sitting at WA ST History Museum. 

 

cooperchutetacoma.jpg

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The Placard…

 
The placard..  I did some work on that placard a while ago.. 
 
It was found basically under the FBI flight path plotted points E of v-23 centre line. Within the variability.
It is from a small plastic door for access to an emergency release which was an option on 727’s. Right of the main airstair control panel door.
When accessed that small access door disconnects completely.
The emergency airstair system releases the upper locks and the airstairs free fall. (if on ground)
The placard was plastic or vinyl and screwed or riveted to the small plastic door. You can see the rivet/screw holes and tear away.. (maybe 5 screws/rivets)
The found placard had separated from the access door. 
The emergency door pulls completely off the wall to access the airstair emergency release.
 
Speculation,, Cooper was having trouble getting the airstairs down using the normal operation lever (shown to him by Tina), behind the hinged airstair control door there is a button on top to press while moving a lever. He likely then tried the emergency release. A small door to the right of the main panel, he pulled the door off and threw it out or it fell out of the plane and the placard separated from the door on the way down. That small plastic door is probably still out there in the woods.
 
 
Tina..
 
 
“When she returned to the plane with the last chute, she saw he had one chute cut open and nylon cords out and he was cutting them with his pocket knife. He took the nylon cord and wrapped it around the neck of the money bag numerous times and then he wrapped it around the neck of the money bag numerous times and then he wrapped it a few times from top to bottom, and with the same piece made a loop like a handle at the top. This nylon cord was pinkish in color. He appeared irritated because they didn’t give him a knapsack for the money which he had initially requested, and after trying to put the money in an unfolded parachute, he decided to leave it in the canvas bag."

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I'm starting to wonder if a trip down to where they found the placard might be a good idea after all. That article I quoted from is from a year ago. I scrapped the idea of holding a camp out there and went up to Trap Pass in the Olympics instead. But...I have another trip lined up for June...supposedly down near Cottage Grove in Oregon, east of there past Dorena Lake and off Forest Service Road 22. Wasn't my idea. But I jumped in and offered to go. 

Maybe a trip to where the placard was found might be better idea after all. I have a metal detector although that won't help find a plastic door. BTW...I did not know a plastic door went out the back of the jet along with the placard. That's interesting. Maybe the briefcase and the dummy reserve could be nearby. I don't know....

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1 hour ago, RobertMBlevins said:

 

  • I am 99 percent sure he said he just dropped off the chutes for repacking, and that could be why he never actually MET Cossey.

 

  • Says he never opened, or saw the inside of either chute, and only wore one during sport flying because he had to, and never liked doing it. 

Don't want to go on any more on this because I would have to look at my old notes, otherwise it would be speculation, but that's what I remember from the interview for sure...

 

 

Fair enough. 

That actually makes quite a bit of sense. 

Acrobatic pilots are required by FAR to wear bailout rigs. I can see some 'old school' guys resenting the rule, as Hayden apparently did/does.

The concept that he didn't really care much about it, never met the rigger and never saw the canopies or the inside of the rig isn't surprising. 
There are 'more than a few' current skydivers who have no clue what color their reserve is. 

 

And, as long as you clarify what is fact and what is speculation, I'm fine with both. My info is mostly going on memory. I'm not digging back through all 2300 pages of this to find stuff I posted years ago.

In fact, my memory on the ripcord location was likely wrong. After a bit of reflection, I think what was really change was not the 'side' the ripcord handle was on, but the location on the main lift web (vertical part of the harness). The phrase 'outboard mod' has popped into my head. 
IIRC (and I may just be 'more wrong') the handle was moved from the inside of the MLW (pointed inward, toward the sternum) to the outside (pointed towards the arm). The reason of taking it out of reach of a scared student and the two stage pull are correct (I think).

Unfortunately, the new format has changed the search function.
Either it has degraded quite a bit or it has different parameters (or both).
I used to be able to find stuff in the archives quite easily. 
Now...
Not so much.

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(edited)

Some FBI summaries claim Cooper initially asked for airstairs down on takeoff.. the pilot transcript clearly states otherwise. Other places confirm the transcript. It was discussed but later when the crew was negotiating to get Tina off of the plane to attempt an escape..

 

 

stairsuptakeoff.jpeg

Edited by FLYJACK

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(edited)

Shutter has returned to the DZ Cooper thread. Welcome. 

Well, for sure the stairs were not released prior to takeoff. I always wondered why Cooper wanted that done.

Not an official source, but my dad worked for Boeing until 1970 and when I asked him about this airstairs-in-flight business on a visit to his house in 2015, he said it was well known among the rank and file every significant test done on a jet...like scuttlebutt. He said one of the tests involved was lowering the stairs in flight to see what would happen if they came open in flight. Would it change flight characteristics, cause the jet to roll or pitch etc unexpectedly. Someone's dad is not an 'official' source I'll admit, but that's what he said. Also said these kinds of things, these tests, usually ended up in the employee newsletter, or if they didn't they were discussed on the floor. Everyone wanted to know the progress and testing stuff on 'their' plane, if you get my drift. I had no reason to disbelieve him. (He was a tool and die maker at the Seattle plant until the Big Boeing Layoffs.) 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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