D.B. Cooper Disappeared From The Sky

He asked for money, then jumped out of the plane

Edward Anderson


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DB Cooper remains a man of mystery Image from FBI Free to use

Edward Anderson

A nondescript white man walked into the Portland International Airport and bought a ticket to Sea-Tac, a trip that was about 30 miles north. He paid cash at the counter for his ticket. This was November 24, 1971, and after this transaction was completed, America would have one of its most enduring mysteries.

The man told the clerk that his name was Dan Cooper, an alias. Security was lax at airports during this time, and travel was largely unregulated for passengers. Fake names were a dime a dozen, and crimes on planes were one of the fastest growing.

But as with most of the historic events, no one thought that they were going to deal with a history making incident.

He boarded the plane with everyone else. There was nothing that suggested what he planned to upend the lives of the crew and his fellow passengers. Instead, he seemed to be quiet and wanting to be left alone.

Once they were in the air, though, Cooper set his plan into motion. He slipped Florence Schaffner, the flight attendant, a note. Dismayed at what she thought was a lonely businessman’s phone number, she slipped it into her pocket with the hopes that she would remember to throw it out later.

But Cooper was insistent that she read the note, he claimed to have a bomb with him. She unraveled it and was shocked by what it said. The note reinforced the notion that he had an explosive and asked her to sit down next to him.

Schaffner did as requested.

Sitting Mystery

Fearing for everyone’s lives, Schaffner asked to see the bomb. Cooper complied and opened his briefcase, which was stacked with four red cylinders that appeared to be dynamite. Attached to the cylinders were wires and a battery.

Patiently, she listened to what Cooper wanted. As he talked, she jotted down a note to take to the pilot, Captain William A. Scott. She took it to him, and he directed her to stay in the cockpit with him. They got word to…



Edward Anderson

Edward has written hundreds of acclaimed true crime articles and has won numerous awards for his short stories. His most recent book is Barbenheimer.