first, the guy was dressed up, in loafers and a trenchcoat, and simply dropped off the back of the plane, with $200,000, into the dark stormy washington wilderness. true, much of this wilderness may have been destroyed by mount saint helens a few years later. true, his parachute probably didn't work. but he was low enough to live; he had made sure of that. he probably didn't have an accomplice or anyone to know he was there, get him out, help him recover. but there is an outside chance he made it by himself. the fbi, by the way, has given up, concluding that he didn't make it. they are probably right, but who knows?
the most recent information is that there was material on his tie, hard metals, that indicate that he would have worked at boeing aerospace at the time, as that is the only place he could have got it. and, if it was on his tie, he must have been in there when he was wearing it, i.e. he was a professional, a manager, or some such thing. this should help them narrow it down! how many managers were there, who could have known what he knew about airplanes, and could have, at the same time, planned such a thing?
the only airplane hijacking to have ever succeeded, or not been resolved - and, for some reason, it has attracted the fancy of people left and right. one reason is that the guy totally disappeared into the night. another reason is that the money has pretty much never been recovered. out of the $200,000, one little pack of about $5,000 was recovered, with some bills missing from it; it washed up on the columbia, and the weather and the water had pretty much done it in. but does that mean 195,000 is still out there? yes, somewhere. it's been 46 years, but yes, somewhere, it's out there.
even at the time, they said he didn't meet the profile of your average plane hijacker. he was polite, well-spoken, well-dressed, and calm. he knew a little about the area; he recognized the base, and he recognized tacoma, as if he'd been there before. they were pretty comprehensive in their search for who he could be; obviously d b cooper wasn't his real name, or dan cooper, the name under which he'd bought his ticket. several people jumped forward to claim credit over the years. none of them, according to the f b i, were good enough. they had no evidence to match any of them to the scene. just drinking bourbon and smoking, occasionally, didn't do it for them. having said that someone had some of the experience that would qualify him - some familiarity with 727's, some familiarity with parachutes - that wasn't quite enough. there were lots of vietnam vets who had gone bad. lots of people who could have done it.
apparently, you don't have this kind of situation these days; they're just too good with the d n a. they picked up some stuff from the seat where he'd sat, and they got his tie, and they had some other pieces of information, but they just didn't know any more based on what they had. they had a dead end. they turned it over to private people, who were far more aggressive - and that's who came up with the hard metals on his tie.
now it also turned out that boeing fired a large number of people around that time. fired people left and right. i would think that's where they're looking now - who were these people? how many wore ties every day? how many were of the male persuasion, and disappeared sometime around 1971? and had that cool, i-could-be-anyone kind of look?
reminds me of a time, it was actually christmas day, or perhaps christmas eve, i got on a train in manhattan, hoping to make it all the way to buffalo for christmas, or by soon after christmas. there was a lot of stress on the train, as we were boarding at penn station (?), and it was busy in spite of being the holidays. as i settled into my seat i became aware that my seat-mate, right next to me, was a d b cooper-like kind of guy, didn't say anything, could be anyone, who knows. but nearby there was a post (new york newspaper, slightly tabloid-style), and on its cover it had a story about the new york killer who had been in manhattan in recent days. i can't remember what he had done; it might have been several murders, or incidents, at least. but he, too, was a d b cooper-like fellow, could have been anyone. if you asked what he'd looked like, you'd have to say, he looked like a police sketch.
so i said to this guy next to me, "hey, this guy was just in this neighborhood," to which he replied, "yes, we all were." and then, i became truly suspicious of all my fellow passengers, not least, him. but what's the likelihood that such a guy would get on an amtrak? on christmas eve? not likely, i think. still, i didn't sleep much that night. the guy himself, my seatmate, was gone early; he was going only to westchester, or some such. the train had a car where some partying was going on. i however didn't have a drink.