Unsolved Mystery: Dale Cooper

No, not the Twin Peaks character. Lynch got the name from one of the weirdest unsolved crimes in American history. In the mid 70s, Dale Cooper, while a passenger on an airplane, stole $500,000 from the hold and then parachuted out of the plane, disappearing somewhere over Montana. Did he make it to the ground alive? No one knows. I wonder if anyone has any info on this. I’d only heard about it through word-of-mouth and my google-attempts keep pulling up the Twin Peaks Dale Cooper.

Try googling on DB Cooper. I don’t ever recall seeing the name Dale used in any news stories. It was always DB Cooper.

Here’s an earlier thread:


Got it with the DB Cooper spelling. Thanks.

Now can anyone tell me what happened to Doobie Keebler???

Hey, paperclips, I have those!

It’s actually Dan Cooper. The “DB” was a mistake made by an official that stuck.

DB is part of the mystic; Dan just has no pizzaz.

The money was not stolen from the hold but rather demanded along with the parachutes. And if I remember correctly, it was only $200,000.

He bailed out over SW Washington. Several years after the hijacking, about $5,000 of the money was discovered on the banks of the Columbia where it probably washed down from some river (I’m forgetting if it was near the Cowlitz or some other river).

I wouldn’t mind getting “only $200,000” there, dtilque…not a bad chunk of change, espescially back in the day.
I for one hope Cooper was actually succesful, but really doubt that he was.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That was one of my favorite episodes of News Radio !!

The hijacker bought his ticket under the name “D. Cooper”.

Shortly after the incident an FBI spokesman said, cryptically, that the search continued for “D. B. Cooper”. This is the name which stuck.

Some of the money was found by a poor farmer who turned it in; it was scattered around on his property.

He was thereafter deluged with hate mail by people who denounced him as stupid. The world is full of people who state that “everyone” knows something or that “everybody” would do such-and-such in a given situation, when all they are really speaking for is themselves. Some of these people take great comfort in these statements, and they become terribly upset when confronted with evidence that their own limitations are not an absolute law for Mankind.

Are you sure about that, slipster? As I recall, the only money found was found by a 6-year-old almost a decade afterwards.

Yessirree, especially at the end when…

Adam (Batman) West turns out to be DB Cooper!


Governor Quinn appears to be correct: a small boy found some of the money–either $5,800 or $5,880, depending on which article you believe–some years after the incident.

Yet I distinctly remember seeing an old black farmer laughing as he was interviewed about the hate mail he received. I am guessing that I am remembering an incident from another hijacking of that era.

For instance, following the D. B. Cooper incident (and yes, it appears he did use the name Dan Cooper, though I have seen D. Cooper listed too), a man tried hijacking a plane while it was still on the ground at Lambert Airport in St. Louis. (The city later changed the name to Lampbert International Airport, so that it would have more panache, like the Pixley International Airport on Green Acres). This case was, in many ways, more interesting than the D. B. Cooper case.

For example, when the man first boarded, one flight attendant told another that she thought a passenger had a gun. The second flight attendant asked her if she meant the man who appeared to be wearing a disguise. It was a different era.

There was a tense standoff on the ground for many hours. A passenger complained that he had a heart condition and thought it was dangeous for him to remain on board. The hijacker told the passengers that if any of them needed to get off for health reasons they should stand up. Reportedly, every single one of them did.

A local man named David Hanley was visiting the airport during the time that the drama was unfolding. He decided, for no apparent reason, that it would be a good idea to ram the plane with his car. After he wrecked some of the landing gear, the hijacker demanded–and got–a new plane.

Hanley, now calling himself “Crash” Hanley, ran as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 1976. He didn’t get it. I was in college at the time, and wanted to interview him for my campus paper. It turned out, though, that he had moved without a forwarding address.