Home History Why We’re Still Obsessed With D.B. Cooper, 51 Years After His Hijacking

Why We’re Still Obsessed With D.B. Cooper, 51 Years After His Hijacking

by Enochadmin

It’s the solely unsolved air piracy incident in industrial aviation historical past, with the legend of the person behind the heist — a person dubbed by the press as D.B. Cooper — reaching legendary proportions some 50 plus years on. Who was D.B. Cooper? Was he a contemporary Robin Hood, as some declare? Or just a determined loner who obtained fortunate? And, lastly, is he nonetheless on the market?

HistoryNet just lately spoke with British-born producer P.G. Morgan on his newest Netflix docuseries, “D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!” on what he thinks occurred to Cooper and the wild and great world of “Cooperites.”

I used to be a large fan of your documentary Flint City, which is definitely in a unique style — if you’ll. What drew you to this story? 

We have been drawn to it due to the unsolved thriller side and in addition the exploration of all these people who find themselves obsessive about D.B. Cooper. They usually have these aspects of themselves, that they’ve projected onto D.B. Cooper. From a artistic standpoint, we actually beloved the thought of constructing one thing that will recreate that point interval, which was a comparatively carefree time by way of air journey. Folks had a way more laissez faire angle, which now appears outstanding.  

I additionally assume the possibility to inform it on Netflix.  DB Cooper is such an all-American story, nevertheless it’s not likely that well-known outdoors the U.S. This was an opportunity to inform that story on a world platform.  

The hijacking, which passed off in 1971, stays the one unsolved air piracy incident in industrial aviation historical past. How did D.B. Cooper change industrial airline journey?

I don’t assume he did, instantly. My impression as an outsider is that American airport safety was just about unchanged till, like, 9/11. I feel what’s fascinating to us is how Cooper grew to become a part of this galaxy of American outlaws. Folks place him on this constellation of Billy the Child and nice American gangsters. It was attention-grabbing to discover a little bit of that American mythology, because it have been.  

I feel we wished to keep away from among the cliches of the D.B. Cooper story, which has at all times lived underneath the identical umbrella as UFOs, Bigfoot and the unsolved mysteries world. We wished it to really feel far more like, “Ooh, they’re taking me again to 1971.” 

A map spots the world the place some a number of thousand {dollars} of the D.B. Cooper hijack was discovered by Brian Ingram whereas on a household outing. The cash was badly decomposed but an examination revealed that the serial numbers have been an identical to these given to the hijacker on Nov. 24, 1971. (Getty Photos)

Talking of the ‘70s — the rating to the documentary collection was terrific. It actually added to the texture of the time. 

We have been actually fortunate to work with Blake Neely, the composer. He did “The Flight Attendant” final yr, which is a tremendous rating, in order that was one in all our inspirations right here. He simply has this unbelievable cinematic contact, including the fitting notes of mischief to it.  

After which E.J. Kang, who was our graphic designer, got here up with these unimaginable titles and all of the break up screens and in addition the reenactment of the occasion. We wished to inform that in a brand new means, as a result of it’s at all times like, “Oh, let’s get 30 actors and rent a aircraft.” We wished to do it differently that simply feels of the time. She discovered this unbelievable appear and feel that we felt labored rather well.  

In episode one, creator Geoffrey Grey describes the hunt for D.B. Cooper as akin to gold fever — that perception takes over logic and that the case not turns into about Cooper, however about these investigating. How did this documentary keep away from this gold fever?” 

I’ll should ask you! We tried to be someplace within the center, the place we embrace the obsessiveness of it and deal with it with respect, but in addition try to maintain a little bit of distance from it, keep outdoors that world. I feel wanting again on it, D.B. Cooper and the group round him is the forerunner of conspiracy theories that now swirls round all over the place. Now, with the web, you’ve obtained 1000’s of individuals attempting to reinvestigate this case with a really small variety of clues.  

Such as you’ve stated, Cooper has advanced into this mythological character of types, however, after 50-plus years of investigating, is there something actually new to find? Do you assume that it may be solved, or is it that form of spinning wheel of pleasure and pleasure that comes with being wrapped up within the Cooper world? 

I feel there’s two components to that. I feel there are some people who find themselves making genuinely new discoveries utilizing science to essentially work with the proof that’s on the market. It’s nice that individuals are utilizing Twenty first- century methods to try to take a look at clues in a brand new means. In order that’s one facet that I feel is admittedly nice.  

The opposite facet is folks simply spinning up larger theories and connections. That’s not fruitful, however I do actually respect and respect the work that folks have achieved with the arduous proof. That’s the actually attention-grabbing bit. 

Larry Carr was the final FBI agent assigned to the case, in March 2009. Agent Carr concluded that the thriller man generally known as D.B. Cooper was killed in his bounce and that his physique rotted away, both on land or underwater.  How does your documentary check out this angle? 

Properly, it’s a greater story to imagine, isn’t it? That he survived? The opposite model is actually a lifeless finish, isn’t it? 

All of the hypothesis, all of the excited speak goes into that grey zone, as a result of nobody actually is aware of. Everybody who thinks he survived is engaged in an train of hope and optimism that this factor may be solved.  

One of many folks we interviewed, Darren Schieffer, who does this nice podcast, “Cooper Vortex,” informed us, “I’ve been engaged on it. I’ve achieved all these podcasts. And I do know much less now than I did originally about who he’s.” I really feel that as nicely.  You get to the purpose the place you don’t actually know up from down. I feel it actually grew to become a research of human obsession.  

Do you contemplate D.B. Cooper a dashing and sensible hero or, as one creator put it, a determined loner “stumbling towards suicide?” 

I might say I feel the truth is that he was extra prosaic than folks assume. So many layers and beliefs have been projected onto this one man, and I feel the truth might be a bit extra mundane. With time, he has develop into this legendary determine. I perceive the Robin Hood analogy, as a result of nobody was harm, it was a victimless crime. This isn’t Ted Bundy, or another ghastly serial killer. 

That was one cause we favored it, as nicely. It’s true crime, however there isn’t any blood in there. I’m simply fascinated the place the house between the truth and the parable lives. And the truth once you get again to it may have been fairly mundane and simple. However everybody’s introduced their fantasies and obsessions and yearnings to the story, and it has develop into one thing a lot larger. As somebody who’s not from right here, I discover it fascinating as a result of it’s actually form of a bit of take a look at America. 


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Lastly, I usually cowl macabre topics, so I at all times like to finish on a lighter be aware — out of everybody the documentary seems at, who’s your favourite suspect? 

Oh, my goodness. I’ve to move on that one, as a result of I feel it adjustments on relying on the day. I imply, there are a number of actually compelling ones, however I don’t have one who I feel it’s for positive. Secondly, I don’t need to say publicly one individual after which the Cooperites come after me!  

Watch the official trailer beneath.

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