Hold On, Folks. The Cooper Case Isn’t Actually Closed.

As many of you have been informed, FBI agents from the Seattle Field Office held a press conference earlier today, closing NORJAK, the official name of the D.B. Cooper case, known here unofficially as Danny Boy. This is major news, and a monumental day in Danny Boy history, but the move by the FBI raises [...]

The Cooper Canadian Spy Conspiracy

Cooper Sleuthers, Happy Anniversary. I know technically the caper involving a certain Northwest Orient plane and suited hijacker was really the 24th of November, though it’s always been the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to me. Why? The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the holiday before the holiday, is always an anxious and introspective time that encapsulates the year [...]

Happy Official 42nd Anniversary!

Sleuths, not sure if you checked the calendar, but today is the day: November 24th, when, on a gloomy overcast afternoon, our sky pirate boarded the 305 Northwest Orient flight to Seattle with a master plan… The rest, of course, we all know…or don’t know. Definitely, we want to know. A reminder that this year’s [...]

The (2nd) Symposium Cometh

Cooper sleuths: It’s getting to be that time of year again. Falling leaves. Brisk winds. Early darkness. A missing skyjacker clutching a $200,000 bag of cash…. Yep. In a few weeks, we’ll be celebrating the second annual D.B. Cooper Symposium, and the 42nd anniversary of the mysterious airplane hijacking and escape via parachute that continues [...]

Earl Cossey, Parachute Rigger, Murder Victim

As many of you hard core Cooper sleuths know, Earl Cossey was an instrumental if not curious player in the D.B. Cooper affair. He was the packer that put together the parachutes the hijacker jumped with, and he met with the FBI at various times over the years to discuss the case. What’s always been [...]

A Time for Thanks, A Call to Action

Sleuths, it’s that time of year again. I was on a plane just yesterday, feeling the cold air blow through the maw of the cabin, the same way it must have blown forty-one years ago on this day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when a gentleman calling himself Dan Cooper boarded the Northwest 305 flight to [...]

Annual Cooper Festivities Begin: This in from Portland

Kicking off the anniversary week of the hijacking, Doug Kenck-Crispin at Kiss Ass Oregon History held his second annual D.B. Cooper Spectacular the other night. The event was a movie showing, along with a talk by Marla Cooper, a showing of The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, and some submissions by local filmakers. Kiss Ass Doug [...]

Cooper News: Next Symposium in…Tacoma!

Cooper Sleuths: Very excited to report that plans have been made for the next D.B. Cooper Symposium, and the official date for our next national gathering will be November 30, 2013, and the location will be the Washington State Historical Museum in Tacoma, Washington. What’s noteworthy here is the folks in Tacoma at the Washington [...]

D.B. Cooper: the Soundtrack?

Think for a second. If a book about D.B. Cooper came with a soundtrack, what songs would on it? Well, here are the songs and here is the list.

Paperback Pub Day: Today!

So, today is the day. Paperback copies of SKYJACK: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper should be on sale in bookstores this morning. Look for them on the front tables. Thanks again to everyone for their support this year, where SKYJACK made it to the Times best-seller list and more.

Your Poetry=Free Book

Even days after the daring hijacking by parachute, songwriters and wordsmiths were penning odes and ballads and lyrics to D.B. Cooper. You could write one too. In honor of next week’s paperback release, I want to give away a few hardback books, the big heavy ones, shipping included. I have a secret stash. I want [...]

Paella and Paperbacks: Release Date September 4th.

Dear Cooper sleuths: What a year it’s been. New suspects. New leads. A poetry contest. We had our first ever Symposium, a national collaboration of retired law enforcement, private eyes, amateur sleuths, paleontologists, parachutists, survival experts, aeronautical engineers and a hundred and fifty or so more, either giving presentations or listening to information about the [...]

The Great Levity in it All

In Cooperland, there are many devout sleuths. On the hunt for new clues and suspects these gumshoes have lightened the burden of solving this great unsolved mystery with levity, self-styled panache and great humor. Bruce Smith is one of those gumshoes. Last night, this intrepid reporter from the Mountain News in Washington State sent around [...]

The Matchbook Mystery

The clues to solving the most difficult crimes are often buried within the most minute shreds of evidence. A strand of hair found on the crime scene. A faint trace of DNA. Or, say, a matchbook that is blue in color and emblazoned with the words “Skychef” written on it. One detail that surfaced in [...]

D.B. Cooper Evidence Found!

Well, kind of. An intrepid Cooper hunter named Todd Paoletti has been able to track down a few of the original “Skychef” matchbook covers that the hijacker reportedly used to light his eight Raleigh filter tipped cigarette butts. Definitely a striking artifact, and I’ve yet to see one. (Forgive me if others have already come [...]

Case Closed? Not so fast.

The headlines are already coming in. “DB Cooper case to close for good?” “D.B. Cooper case ‘solved.’” “FBI closing case on Cooper….” So, is any of it true? After forty years of hunting for the mysterious hijacker…after spending millions to deploy sheriffs, deputies, cops, troopers, agents, and spy planes…after chasing down leads on over 1,000 [...]

Symposium Recap

Well, Symposium day has come and gone. For those who didn’t make it, a basic recap: from most accounts, there were roughly 200 hundred of us there throughout the day, giving and listening to presentations, first hand accounts, speculations and some spectacular poems from an eclectic bunch. One lucky paleontologist won a parachute canopy. One [...]

Happy 40th!

Who would of thought Cooper sleuthing could turn into fine wordsmithing? Presenting “Leap of Faith,” by the infamous poster known to many of us as 377. Here more from him at the Symposium at the Portland Hilton this Saturday. Two choices, not four. Useless reserves, on the floor. NB8 or old Pioneer? To one [...]

The poem to beat is in…

Presenting “Nun of the Above,” by Farflung. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, today is folklore, Last year is history, like forty before. So stop what you’re doing, give your brain a long rest, Hear a tale of great daring, from the Pacific Northwest. He dressed all in black, with a long skinny tie, He looked just like anyone, [...]

Mr. Cooper—yet another poem for you

This submission in from Heather Myers, entitled simply Mr. Cooper. Two days left to submit your entries to the official 40th anniversary D.B. Cooper poetry contest. Mr. Cooper, what is your real name? Did you know that when you jumped that night You would parachute to fame? That your legend is celebrated even today? That [...]

Another Ballad, for Mr. Cooper

Several Cooper poetry contest submissions in this morning—this one from Rod Harman. The deadline for the poetry contest is Friday, 5:00 pm. E-mail your submission to me at Now, without further ado, Harman’s poetry. DB. Or can I call you Dan. Perhaps you are a Richard, a Donald or a Stan Regardless of a [...]

Pre-Symposium Report

I’ve been in Portland two days now, prepping for the official, only-five-more-days-to-go D.B. Cooper Symposium, and expected to find this city not prepared to embrace what this Thanksgiving really is: Cooper’s 40th anniversary. Truth is, the Cooper current is here is white hot. Yesterday I attended “D.B. Cooper Night,” an event thrown by Doug Kenck-Crispin, [...]

Our First Original Cooper Ballad

This just in: a new submission. Happy 40th, Dan. by Rick Ganci What’s in a name—it was Dan wasn’t it? The question’s the same. But that name is not the name, You own the prize Some seek for fame. That name too A clue so many missed for so long after you said so long, [...]

Sunday morning Cooper poetry

To go with your morning coffee, the next poetry submission. “What’s in a name?” by Robin Mattos. An old English word, For a barrel maker, Is Cooper. Full of cash, A Cooper man Made himself a barrel roll. By jumping out of a plane, Not wishing to be shot Like a fish in a barrel. [...]

More Hijacker Haiku

Presenting ‘Enigma,’ by Ann Van Alt You were autumn breeze Old trees remember you well They choose not to speak Yes they do (and no they don’t!) Sweet one, Ann. Any more Cooper haiku? Ballads? Submit your entries now, and send to

Poetry Submission Number One

So, the first entry for the official D.B. Cooper poetry contest is in, and comes via Nick Eaton, who churns some mighty fine prose as well, especially here. Now on to the Eaton’s poetry, a hijacker haiku. D.B. Cooper soars A pack of cash on his back Ground approaching fast Indeed, Nick. See you at [...]

Enter….the D.B. Cooper poetry contest

Unlike any other crime in America, D.B. Cooper, the notorious sky pirate, who hijacked a commercial airplane in 1971 for $200,000 and parachuted out the back into oblivion, inspired scores of poems, ballads, and songs, scribbled in his honor. One feature of this year’s D.B. Cooper Symposium, which I am hosting in Portland on November [...]

D.B. Cooper Symposium T-Shirt Contest

As one of many features to the upcoming Symposium, there will be a 40th anniversary D.B. Cooper t-shirt design contest. Days after the hijacking, a slew of Cooper t-shirts appeared, and it was the public’s rapid (and commercial) response that initially helped create the Cooper legend. The upcoming contest will be brief—we are only four [...]

Calling all Cops and Agents, Looking for New Leads

The Cooper Symposium is only a month away, more or less. Already, lecturers and speakers are lining up to give presentations. One part of the program that I would like to address is the area of unknown breaks. “New Leads,” I’m calling it. If anyone knows of a solid tip in the case—from a new [...]

Let the Cooper Rumpus begin

Well, the check cleared. The deposit is in. The official D.B. Cooper Symposium is on. More details will follow next week, but here is what you need to know. Official headquarters for the Cooper Symposium will be the Portland Hilton, located in downtown Portland. The date of the Symposium will be the morning of and [...]

Book it: November 26th.

The official details are forthcoming, but for anyone looking to get a jump on Thanksgiving weekend airfare and travel arrangements, the D.B. Cooper Symposium, held in concert with the fortieth anniversary of the hijacking, will be held on November 26th, a Saturday, in Portland, Oregon. The location of the Symposium itself will be at a [...]

The Pioneer v.s. The NB6

In recent years, it’s been the contention by Bureau agents that the hijacker wasn’t all that expert in the use of parachutes. The reason, they’ve surmised, is evident in the parachute Cooper chose to jump with. During the hijacking, two very different rear or back pack parachutes were brought on board. One was a Pioneer, [...]

Number 25

Fellow D.B. Cooper faithful: Some news to report. Yesterday, the Times published it’s list of bestsellers and SKYJACK made it. The book is now at 25. This is a big deal, and I thank you all for making it happen. A lot of Cooper news in the works, Symposium updates, some contests, etc. Stay tuned.

How Thick These Woods

Could D.B. Cooper have survived the jump? Maybe. But could he have escaped from the thorny brambles that cover the floor of the remote forests of southwest Washington? Here is an example of how thick the woods were back in 1971. While many of the remote areas along the flight path of Northwest 305 have [...]

Symposium Picks Up Steam

Over the past week (and especially over drinks after last night’s reading in Seattle) there’s been considerable interest in holding a Cooper symposium in honor of the fortieth anniversary of the hijacking. The goal of the symposium is for Cooper sleuths from around the world to come together in a casual yet scholarly setting and [...]

Cooper Symposium Picks Up Steam

Over the past week (and especially over drinks after last night’s reading in Seattle) there’s been considerable interest in holding a Cooper symposium later this year. In honor of the fortieth anniversary of the hijacking, the goal of the symposium is for Cooper sleuths from around the world to come together in a (semi) scholarly [...]

The missing ingredient: gravity

Big deal. Forty years later, why are we still so fascinating in a guy we don’t know, who ransomed a commercial plane for some money, jumped out over some woods, and was never seen again? One answer: gravity. “It is violent, inevitable, instantaneous and unmerciful,” Dr. David Hubbard wrote in The Skyjacker, an influential psychological [...]

The Mystery of the Yellow Bag with the Pink Tinge

For the last forty years, it’s been assumed the only article the hijacker brought on board Northwest Orient Flight 305 is a cheap looking leather attache case, stuffed with cylinders and wires that either looked like or was a real bomb. But did Cooper carry something else on that plane? What was it? And how [...]

Spy Plane Searches for Cooper

Hunting to find the missing hijacker, the federal government spared no costs. One startling detail contained in the F.B.I.’s Cooper case file is the repeated use of the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane to conduct surveillance photographs over the hijacker’s drop zone. In the winter of 1972, after months of failing to locate Cooper, records show [...]

The Gregory Sketch

Over the years, there have been many D.B. Cooper sketches. There’s the Bing Crosby sketch, released shortly after the hijacking; the one that followed that; the aged depiction of Cooper; all are different in their own ways, have merit in their own ways, and were based on the recollection of three witnesses: Stewardesses Tina Mucklow, [...]

Pub Day has….arrived.

Well, it’s official. Pub day is here. Only 1,427 days in the making. Treat yourself to a walk to your closest bookstore and pick up a copy. (If the title isn’t there, say something!) And if you like the book, don’t be shy and submit a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble. Once again, [...]

First reading…Tonight.

Morning Cooper fans. So tonight is my first reading, at the elegant Corner Bookstore on the corner of Madison Avenue and 93rd Street. The starting time is 6:00 p.m., and for information on where it is and how to get there click here.

Cooper weekend roundup: Books are in!

I passed a bookstore yesterday afternoon. Curious to see if they had any books in stock, I went inside and snooped around. And behind the counter, resting in cardboard boxes, there they were. While the book itself can be pre-ordered in cyberspace (and cheaper this way), the actual books themselves are actually in stores, which [...]

Was ‘Uncle L.D.’ vetted by FBI? “Not fully,” agent says.

There’s an avalanche of reports out this morning about Marla Cooper outing her uncle Lynn Doyle Cooper (“Uncle L.D.”) as the skyjacker, and what’s curious about many is the suggestion the FBI actually investigated her uncle’s story. “It was not fully vetted,” Special Agent Fred Gutt of the Seattle’s Bureau field office told me the [...]

Cooper mania upon us! Introducing Uncle “L.D.” Which suspect will be next?

Finally we have a name: Lynn Doyle Cooper. Or, as his niece Marla Cooper called him, “L.D.,” for short, kind of like ol’ D.B. The release of this hyped up suspect’s name, coming on the heels of a disclosure earlier this week that the Bureau had their “most promising” suspect to date, and sent over [...]

Bust? Already!

Has the “most promising” D.B. Cooper suspect turned out to be a dud? Early today, the reports out of Seattle was that a guitar strap the FBI wanted to use to identify finger prints on a deceased Cooper suspect yielded no suitable finger print samples to analyze. Now the Bureau has to go back to [...]

Not so fast

Just hold on now. Today, there’s a news break out of the Pacific Northwest about a “new suspect” in the legendary D.B. Cooper case. On the surface it sounds promising. Through the sleuthing efforts of The Telegraph’s Alex Hannaford, we’ve learned the FBI has sent evidence to the lab in Quantico for fingerprinting and DNA [...]

Alas…the video is in.

So, after some tinkering and tuning, the video trailer to accompany the book is finished.

Good Guys and Bad Guys

The power of the Cooper case not only lies in the fact that the mystery has remained unsolved for so long, but that the courage and perceived cleverness of the hijacker was able to tweak the moral fabric of American culture and law enforcement. In one jump, one free fall, a man falling out of [...]

The Aerial Test

Where did the hijacker’s parachute land? Over the past four decades, this mystery is at the center of the many mysteries within the D.B. Cooper case. Originally, federal agents wanted to simulate the jump and strap up a parachute expert and have him bail out of the Northwest jet just like Cooper. There were problems [...]

Did D.B. Cooper leave a calling card?

After the hijacking, agents from the FBI and newspaper editors received countless letters from anonymous writers claiming credit for the hijacking. Some letters had a comic tone (“Yabba Dabba Do! Admit it, I’ve won! You’ve lost!”) and others were braggy: “I have succeeded in pulling off one of the most successful, talked about crimes of [...]

Wait, How Did It Happen Again?

One question that comes up often: How does anyone jump out of a commercial airliner? Through the little windows by our seats? The front door? The answer is neither. Decades ago, Boeing designed their 727 mid-range jets with stairs in the very rear of the cabin. Aftstairs, they were called. The reason was airports. In [...]

What You Should Know, A Primer.

There are mysteries within the mysteries of the Cooper case. To understand the many levels, it’s helpful to prepare and read up on the basics. But sleuthers beware: even the basic facts can become booby traps. The memories of what happened that night have been re-told so many times that certain information and ideas about [...]


Almost four years ago, I received a phone call that started all this. Skipp Porteous, a private detective I know, had received a tip over the transom about a suspect in one of the biggest manhunts and mysteries in the annals of American crime, the case of D.B. Cooper. It was a tip I followed [...]