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DB Cooper

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6 hours ago, dudeman17 said:

On whether Cooper survived the jump...

 

On any jump made, the odds are against that the person goes in. But occasionally they do anyway, so I suppose anything is possible. But we don't know how Cooper fared, so we look at the situation and consider what is likely to have happened. Robert99 posted some scenarios that I think are unlikely. R99, I'm not bagging on you, I don't know you personally, I'm just giving an objective take on your suggestions.

Not necessarily. Cooper was a smart guy, I would guess that whatever he tied to himself, he tied tightly and securely. With the back bailout rig and the money tied to his front, that wouldn't have been too much different than the typical sport rig of the day, with a back main and front-mount reserve.

Freefall stability is kind of like learning to ride a bicycle, in that there is a subtle balance point to it. At first it can be hard to control, but once it 'clicks', it's really not hard. And like everything, some people take to it quicker than others. If he had prior freefall experience, the exit would not have been hard. And if he didn't, and he did tumble, again, he's a ballsy guy, I'm guessing he would keeps his wits about him enough to pull.

Not at all. Many people have deployed while tumbling and gotten open just fine. That spring-loaded pilot chute comes off your back quickly and takes the canopy with it. If you're gonna get tangled up in anything, it's most likely going to be the bottom part of the lines. And when the canopy opens, it's gonna flick you out of that like an errant yo-yo. You may end up with line burns, but you're most likely going to have an open canopy.

Parachute malfunctions are pretty rare. And of the malfunctions that do happen, total pack closures are very rare, and so are high speed streamers. Most malfunctions that do occur on rounds are slow speed, like line-overs or partial inversions. Maybe a bit higher rate of descent and less control than you might otherwise have, but usually survivable.

 

I think it's highly probable that he survived the jump. The concern I have, as I stated before, is whether he was injured on landing and able to hike out.

As I stated in the original post, Cooper would have had big time problems stabilizing since he did not have reference to a horizon or anything else due to the darkness and overcast and other cloud layers.  Regardless of how many jumps he may have had, and nothing suggests he had any, he would need a reference point to stabilize himself.  This is somewhat like some amateur pilots who think they can fly in clouds without gyro instruments (and suitable training) until they dig a hole in the ground.

Parachute malfunctions may be rare but I had a rotating streamer on my 9th jump and the Great Amazon, of DZ fame, has told me that she came down on her reserve on her 10th jump.  I was using modified military equipment in the early sky diving days and I not sure what equipment Amazon was using but her problem was also a very long time ago.  

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On 3/8/2020 at 8:37 AM, RobertMBlevins said:

I'm sure you would.

Here's the deal, for real:  Due to the numerous, and mostly negative comments by other Cooper folk on other websites...who obviously read this thread due to their references on it in their comments...I have decided to cut Dropzone loose for a while. 

If you have any questions, I am not hard to find. Frankly, I am crazy busy these days, some Cooper-related, some not. 

I think it's time for some folks other than me to be heavy contributors to this thread. I already told everyone my part in Cooperland was rapidly approaching an end. I did what I could, and the results were nothing but polarizing. Some people pulled out all the stops, went to extremes, lied or used phony identities, (some still do) and frankly I would rather be doing something else than dealing with that. Such as doing Cooper stuff in the real world, for example. 

But this is the last year for all that. The book, the movie, my autobiography Cooperland, and a couple of other things will have to stand as my final word on all of this. I already have my next sci-fi book planned, and you can bet the farm I am looking forward to doing that rather than anything more about D.B. Cooper. He's been mostly a pain in the ass. B)

So you post that you are going to talk to this guy and ask if anyone has any questions we would like you to ask him. Then you trash me for asking if you have talked with him yet. Are you sure your name isn't Richard Blevins cause you sure sound like a Dick!

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Richard Blevins? You think I'm a dick? That's nice. Good thing for me the people I know personally have a different opinion.

Otherwise, I would REALLY be in trouble. B)

This is the main reason I decided to retire from Dropzone. The one I quoted earlier. You only convinced me my decision was the right one. Any further posts I do on Cooper will be at WordPress, Quora, or the rather private place I established last year and held in reserve for future use.

Frankly, I was tired of the internet baloney regarding Cooper. I decided to distance myself from it permanently. 

Quote

 

"I always keep my feathers numbered, for just such an emergency..."

Foghorn Leghorn

 

 

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7 hours ago, Robert99 said:

As I stated in the original post, Cooper would have had big time problems stabilizing since he did not have reference to a horizon or anything else due to the darkness and overcast and other cloud layers.  Regardless of how many jumps he may have had, and nothing suggests he had any, he would need a reference point to stabilize himself.  This is somewhat like some amateur pilots who think they can fly in clouds without gyro instruments (and suitable training) until they dig a hole in the ground.

Parachute malfunctions may be rare but I had a rotating streamer on my 9th jump and the Great Amazon, of DZ fame, has told me that she came down on her reserve on her 10th jump.  I was using modified military equipment in the early sky diving days and I not sure what equipment Amazon was using but her problem was also a very long time ago.  

He would have trouble stabilizing because of a 20 pound bag of money tied to his body, but not because it was dark or he could not see the horizon.  If he had any skydiving experience, or parachute free fall training, he would have known to arch his body.  He could have done this in the dark, or with his eyes closed.

 

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(edited)
9 hours ago, Robert99 said:

As I stated in the original post, Cooper would have had big time problems stabilizing since he did not have reference to a horizon or anything else due to the darkness and overcast and other cloud layers.  Regardless of how many jumps he may have had, and nothing suggests he had any, he would need a reference point to stabilize himself.  This is somewhat like some amateur pilots who think they can fly in clouds without gyro instruments (and suitable training) until they dig a hole in the ground.

Parachute malfunctions may be rare but I had a rotating streamer on my 9th jump and the Great Amazon, of DZ fame, has told me that she came down on her reserve on her 10th jump.  I was using modified military equipment in the early sky diving days and I not sure what equipment Amazon was using but her problem was also a very long time ago.  

This is just not true,,,

There are indications that he had military chute experience. He put the chute on ASAP rejecting the instructions and he asked for a knapsack which is a military paratrooper term/item.. Himmelsbach claimed he asked for chutes from McChord. He chose the military chute.

Hahneman successfully made a nearly identical jump with a military chute, at night over a dark rural jungle with money and 2000 cigarettes..

He backed down the stairs and jumped off back first just as 377 speculated Cooper may have done.

There are several other examples of 727 parachute hijackers surviving..

 

To conclude the conditions caused Cooper to die in the jump is extreme confirmation bias based on unfounded assumptions.. we all have some but that is beyond reason.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by FLYJACK

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8 hours ago, haggarknew said:

You say that nothing suggests that he had any skydiving experience. If that is the case how do you explain his ability to put on a parachute with no problem? I think you may be mistaken.

You don't have to be a skydiver to know how to put on a parachute.

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3 hours ago, CooperNWO305 said:

He would have trouble stabilizing because of a 20 pound bag of money tied to his body, but not because it was dark or he could not see the horizon.  If he had any skydiving experience, or parachute free fall training, he would have known to arch his body.  He could have done this in the dark, or with his eyes closed.

 

377 has posted on the adjustments he had to make during free falls after he tied an equipment bag to one leg.  And this was during a daylight jump.  Unless Cooper pulled the ripcord while on the bottom of the stairs, he would tumble and that is all there is to it.

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6 minutes ago, FLYJACK said:

You do have to have experience to put on a military harness quickly without instructions..

Knowing how to put on a military parachute, or any other type of parachute, does not make you a skydiver.  You become a skydiver by making actual parachute jumps.

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(edited)

I believe we are talking about the same things, but in different contexts.

Putting on a harness quickly indicates that Cooper was familiar with harnesses, but it does not necessarily indicate that he was an experienced skydiver.  I think Fly, R99, and I would agree on this.  One group that would be good with harnesses would be aircrews.

Where we may diverge is on the level of skydiving experience, and whether or not this would have resulted in his survival.  I'm of the Martin Andrade school where I think he could have jumped out and been a lot like a pilot or aircrew bailing out of a plane.  Most pilots and aircrews that bailed out of planes (B-17s in WW2, F-4's in Vietnam, etc.) would likely have been on their first jump.  The intent was not for these guys to jump out of a plane, but to land in the plane.  The military does not send all aircrews through parachute training, just basic bail out techniques and survival.

Remember, parachutes were for getting out of a damaged plane, they were not meant for fun.  In most cases the chutes worked.  If a kid jumping from a burning B-17 over Germany could pull a ripcord, then DB Cooper could have too, especially if he did it while sitting on the back stairs. No one was shooting at him, the plane was not in flames.

I believe Cooper knew how to put on a harness, but was not a skilled skydiver.  He could have had a few jumps.  He may have practiced in the military, even gotten on a plane back when there were not as many rules as today.  He may have practiced a jump at a place like Elsinore.

It is also possible that Cooper never actually parachuted out of a plane, but did have parachute experience.  How is this possible? Well, the Navy trained their air crews in parachute techniques using a para sail type set up.  Army Airborne used towers.

Edited by CooperNWO305

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(edited)
24 minutes ago, Robert99 said:

Knowing how to put on a military parachute, or any other type of parachute, does not make you a skydiver.  You become a skydiver by making actual parachute jumps.

It indicates Cooper had experience with a military harness.

How many people have military harness experience and ZERO training or jumps?

Edited by FLYJACK

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8 minutes ago, FLYJACK said:

It indicates Cooper had experience with a military harness.

Tina reportedly observed Cooper putting on the back pack and said that he seemed to do it without any difficulty.  It is unknown if Tina had ever seen anyone put on a parachute before this incident.

But putting on an NB6 harness is a bit more involved than putting on your standard military or civilian parachute harness.  So it does suggest that Cooper had experience with military parachutes.

In 1971, there were plenty of NB6 parachutes in the civilian market.  But if Cooper got NB6 experience in the military, it would almost certainly be with the Navy.  

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A good thing about these forums is that the discussion keeps us current on the case and keeps ideas flowing through our brains.  I need a refresher often.

Question: Today the skydiving rigs are all mainly civilian, and are not similar to military chutes.  However, in 1971 the sport was just advancing, and skydiving rigs could be composites of different types of chutes, harnesses, containers, etc.

Would someone who had a few skydives under their belt necessarily be familiar with putting on a military harness?  Could their jumps have all been with more civilian type gear?

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(edited)
47 minutes ago, Robert99 said:

Tina reportedly observed Cooper putting on the back pack and said that he seemed to do it without any difficulty.  It is unknown if Tina had ever seen anyone put on a parachute before this incident.

But putting on an NB6 harness is a bit more involved than putting on your standard military or civilian parachute harness.  So it does suggest that Cooper had experience with military parachutes.

In 1971, there were plenty of NB6 parachutes in the civilian market.  But if Cooper got NB6 experience in the military, it would almost certainly be with the Navy.  

Cooper also rejected the instructions...

Hard to imagine somebody with NO training or experience about to make their first jump out the back of a 727 rejecting the parachute instructions.

The evidence indicates Cooper had at least some parachute training or experience.

Edited by FLYJACK

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Think about it like this.  Have you ever been on a boat and gone through the training in case it sinks?  You put on a life jacket, you tie it, you get ready to get in life boats, you talk about what to do, etc.  But sometimes you never really actually get into the water.  That's the difference between an exercise and the real thing.  The military does this all the time, it's called training.

Cooper could easily have been an aircrew member who trained for the eventuality of jumping from a plane, but may actually have not ever jumped from a plane.  Larry Carr called Cooper a know it all, one who got the broad strokes down, but not the details.  Cooper could have had all the practice steps down, and that one day in 1971 decided to take the final step of jumping in the water so to say.

Hahneman was an aircrew member, so he would know harnesses, but did he ever jump (until 1972?).  He may never have jumped until that one day, but he was comfortable right up to the point that he left the aircraft, so it was not a huge leap for him to go that last few inches.

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9 minutes ago, CooperNWO305 said:

Think about it like this.  Have you ever been on a boat and gone through the training in case it sinks?  You put on a life jacket, you tie it, you get ready to get in life boats, you talk about what to do, etc.  But sometimes you never really actually get into the water.  That's the difference between an exercise and the real thing.  The military does this all the time, it's called training.

Cooper could easily have been an aircrew member who trained for the eventuality of jumping from a plane, but may actually have not ever jumped from a plane.  Larry Carr called Cooper a know it all, one who got the broad strokes down, but not the details.  Cooper could have had all the practice steps down, and that one day in 1971 decided to take the final step of jumping in the water so to say.

Hahneman was an aircrew member, so he would know harnesses, but did he ever jump (until 1972?).  He may never have jumped until that one day, but he was comfortable right up to the point that he left the aircraft, so it was not a huge leap for him to go that last few inches.

 

FBI confirmed Hahneman was on an aircrew in WW2. They claimed he was also in Korea and Vietnam but I can't find any military record for those. He claimed he was a Vietnam veteran and paratrooper but I have not confirmed either. It was common for him to embellish and tell half truths.. He worked in various countries in South East Asia for most of the 1960's under several contracts.. until Aug 1971. 

When Hahneman jumped in '72  he took apart one of the chutes and left the parts on the plane, he walked backward down the airstairs and went off back first. That was the method 377 suggested for Cooper. He did not ask for airstair operation instruction..

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29 minutes ago, FLYJACK said:

 

FBI confirmed Hahneman was on an aircrew in WW2. They claimed he was also in Korea and Vietnam but I can't find any military record for those. He claimed he was a Vietnam veteran and paratrooper but I have not confirmed either. It was common for him to embellish and tell half truths.. He worked in various countries in South East Asia for most of the 1960's under several contracts.. until Aug 1971. 

When Hahneman jumped in '72  he took apart one of the chutes and left the parts on the plane, he walked backward down the airstairs and went off back first. That was the method 377 suggested for Cooper. He did not ask for airstair operation instruction..

Flyjack: Are you of the belief that Cooper jumped with a military rig vs a civilian rig and that he could have chosen either a civilian rig or military rig, but chose the military rig?  That's my understanding.

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(edited)
27 minutes ago, CooperNWO305 said:

Flyjack: Are you of the belief that Cooper jumped with a military rig vs a civilian rig and that he could have chosen either a civilian rig or military rig, but chose the military rig?  That's my understanding.

I believe so,, but the FBI mix up with the rigs makes it uncertain the rig Cooper actually took.

He left Hayden's rig for sure.

He likely took Cossey's custom NB6/8 but there is a possibility he took one from McChord.

It is complex.. the FBI parachute descriptions conflict in more than one dimension, Hayden vs Cossey and colours, if you know what I mean. 

Cossey claimed his NB6/8 was a sage green harness and sage green container..

FBI file,,, both back chutes olive drab,

FBI file,,, back chutes,, one tan, one olive drab

FBI file,,, unsub used sage green parachute

Hayden claimed his chutes were identical.

 

Important, Cossey was informed of the chutes left on the plane and ASSUMED Cooper used his sage green/sage green NB6/8 by elimination..  Cossey didn't know about Hayden's chute or that the FBI potentially mixed them up.. Cossey rejected found chutes that were not sage green/sage green based on an assumption,, this may or may not have been correct. This throws into doubt all the chutes Cossey rejected.

 

 

Tina,,

"She also commented that he appeared to be completely familiar with the parachutes which had been furnished to him"

 

Edited by FLYJACK

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18 minutes ago, FLYJACK said:

I believe so,, but the FBI mix up with the rigs makes it uncertain the rig Cooper actually took.

He left Hayden's rig for sure.

He likely took Cossey's custom NB6/8 but there is a possibility he took one from McChord.

It is complex.. the FBI parachute descriptions conflict in more than one dimension, Hayden vs Cossey and colours, if you know what I mean. 

Cossey claimed his NB6/8 was a sage green harness and sage green container..

FBI file,,, both back chutes olive drab,

FBI file,,, one tan, one olive drab

Hayden claimed his chutes were identical.

 

Important, Cossey was informed of the chutes left on the plane and ASSUMED Cooper used his sage green/sage green NB6/8 by elimination..  Cossey didn't know about Hayden's chute or that the FBI potentially mixed them up.. Cossey rejected found chutes that were not sage green/sage green based on an assumption,, this may or may not have been correct. This throws into doubt all the chutes Cossey rejected.

 

 

Tina,,

"She also commented that he appeared to be completely familiar with the parachutes which had been furnished to him"

 

On The Cooper Vortex episode with Martin Andrade, he mentions that his dad who was a fighter pilot tried to put on the same type of chute that Cooper likely used, and it took him a little while.  Martin Jr. also wore harnesses a lot in his job, and he found it difficult to put on.  So from that perspective, even someone with harness or parachute experience could find it difficult to put on the Cooper chute.  Cooper did it easily, which opens up some questions.  Was he faking it? Did he have experience with that chute/harness, or maybe experience with multiple types of harnesses?

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(edited)
6 minutes ago, CooperNWO305 said:

On The Cooper Vortex episode with Martin Andrade, he mentions that his dad who was a fighter pilot tried to put on the same type of chute that Cooper likely used, and it took him a little while.  Martin Jr. also wore harnesses a lot in his job, and he found it difficult to put on.  So from that perspective, even someone with harness or parachute experience could find it difficult to put on the Cooper chute.  Cooper did it easily, which opens up some questions.  Was he faking it? Did he have experience with that chute/harness, or maybe experience with multiple types of harnesses?

That is right, I remembered reading that but couldn't recall the source..

I think Martin wrote about it as well..

Edited by FLYJACK

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14 hours ago, Robert99 said:

Parachute malfunctions may be rare but I had a rotating streamer on my 9th jump and the Great Amazon, of DZ fame, has told me that she came down on her reserve on her 10th jump. 

Sure, mains do occasionally malfunction. I had my first at about 50 jumps, a partial inversion on a Para-Commander, and I've had a fair handful of them over the years. But his chances of having one on a round reserve packed by a rigger are extremely slim.

14 hours ago, Robert99 said:

As I stated in the original post, Cooper would have had big time problems stabilizing since he did not have reference to a horizon or anything else due to the darkness and overcast and other cloud layers.

This is just not accurate. First, for an experienced jumper, the first point of reference is the direction of the relative wind. And whether he's experienced or not, it's not like he's in a total black void. In rainy, drizzly, total overcast conditions, the clouds are usually fairly low. At 10 grand, Cooper is most likely above all that and under clear skies. There would be ambient light. Not sure how much, I've asked this before and got no answer, but does anyone know what the moon was that night? But whatever the moon, there would be stars out. All that light would reflect off the top of the clouds, and that would be as or more visible than dark ground terrain on a clear night. Been there, seen that.

7 hours ago, CooperNWO305 said:

He would have trouble stabilizing because of a 20 pound bag of money tied to his body

Consider modern tandem instructors (I am one). We jump with full sized people attached to us. Sure, we teach them to give us a decent body position on exit, but sometimes they are, shall we say, somewhat uncooperative. That doesn't normally kill us.

4 hours ago, Robert99 said:

Unless Cooper pulled the ripcord while on the bottom of the stairs, he would tumble and that is all there is to it.

As I stated before, a tumbling deployment would be unlikely to kill him.

4 hours ago, CooperNWO305 said:

Question: Today the skydiving rigs are all mainly civilian, and are not similar to military chutes.  However, in 1971 the sport was just advancing, and skydiving rigs could be composites of different types of chutes, harnesses, containers, etc.

Would someone who had a few skydives under their belt necessarily be familiar with putting on a military harness?  Could their jumps have all been with more civilian type gear?

In those days, much if not most or all civilian sport gear was in fact military surplus. Parachute containers are fairly simple devices and they all work off the same principles. So while there are differences, they are all fairly similar. As for harnesses, the hunan body is what it is. They too are all pretty much the same. There're a couple leg straps, you put your arms through the main lift webs, and there's a chest strap and sometimes a belly band. Even with no experience, it wouldn't be hard to figure it out.

Even today, civilian sport and military rigs are pretty much the same, usually manufactured by the same companies. And most military jump schools use civilian contractor instructors.

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36 minutes ago, dudeman17 said:

Sure, mains do occasionally malfunction. I had my first at about 50 jumps, a partial inversion on a Para-Commander, and I've had a fair handful of them over the years. But his chances of having one on a round reserve packed by a rigger are extremely slim.

This is just not accurate. First, for an experienced jumper, the first point of reference is the direction of the relative wind. And whether he's experienced or not, it's not like he's in a total black void. In rainy, drizzly, total overcast conditions, the clouds are usually fairly low. At 10 grand, Cooper is most likely above all that and under clear skies. There would be ambient light. Not sure how much, I've asked this before and got no answer, but does anyone know what the moon was that night? But whatever the moon, there would be stars out. All that light would reflect off the top of the clouds, and that would be as or more visible than dark ground terrain on a clear night. Been there, seen that.

Consider modern tandem instructors (I am one). We jump with full sized people attached to us. Sure, we teach them to give us a decent body position on exit, but sometimes they are, shall we say, somewhat uncooperative. That doesn't normally kill us.

As I stated before, a tumbling deployment would be unlikely to kill him.

In those days, much if not most or all civilian sport gear was in fact military surplus. Parachute containers are fairly simple devices and they all work off the same principles. So while there are differences, they are all fairly similar. As for harnesses, the hunan body is what it is. They too are all pretty much the same. There're a couple leg straps, you put your arms through the main lift webs, and there's a chest strap and sometimes a belly band. Even with no experience, it wouldn't be hard to figure it out.

Even today, civilian sport and military rigs are pretty much the same, usually manufactured by the same companies. And most military jump schools use civilian contractor instructors.

The malfunction I experienced was using a 28 foot emergency parachute that had a 5-TU modification.  This parachute was packed by my instructor, who was also a rigger, and myself.  The reserve parachute that I used was also packed by my instructor.  And the instructor/rigger was amply rewarded with the beverage of his choice.

The cemeteries are filled with pilots who though they could fly under IFR conditions without any training or gyro instruments.  Basically, the same thing applies in the Cooper jump.  There is no information available on the cloud conditions above the airliner.  A weather front was moving out of the area, but it is unlikely that Cooper could have had any meaningful references to help him stabilize even if he was an experienced jumper.

From what I have seen of tandem jumpers, they deploy a stabilizing drag chute almost immediately after exiting the jump aircraft and they do that during good weather conditions.  

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