Dan Cooper or "D.B. Cooper" as he is better known has been an enigma since the hijacking of the Northwest Airline jet in 1971.
I will be the first to tell you that I know less than I should about this mystery and for this article I am truly just thinking out loud. With that said, what if Dan Cooper never really left the plane when he was supposed to have jumped out? No one was in the back of the plane when this was supposed to have occurred. The man known as Dan Cooper did have a lot of knowledge about the plane and flying and apparently a few different airports including a military base not far from where the jet landed to refuel.
Is it possible Cooper knew enough about the jet (maybe an airline employee) that he could have stowed away in a space that the F.B.I. wouldn't have looked in? Is it possible the F.B.I. didn't really search the plane all that much because they assumed he jumped? This latter scenario seems extremely possible to me based on the art of misdirection and the possibility of it turning into a cluster ---- once the plane landed.
Maybe the man known as Dan Cooper never left the plane until after it had landed and after the F.B.I. finished collecting their evidence. We know from experience that investigative techniques and the collection of evidence changes over time as criminals get smarter and/or more daring.
To this date I think there is only one individual that has been named that could even be considered a possible suspect and that is a man named Kenneth Christiansen. You will here more about him tonight on Brad Meltzer's Decoded but based on what I have read, he is the only one that seems to have the right kind of background and who, from interviews of friends, had some pretty suspicious activities going on before and after the hijacking. I am told there was a man here in Oklahoma that could have been Cooper but that's another story for someone else to write. :~)
If this story interests you I would suggest doing a little more research into Mr. Christiansen. There was a book written about him and his possible connection to the hijacking which is bound to have more information than you will get from a one hour show on the History Channel.
Besides solving a mystery, there is still a little less than 200 grand that has never been accounted for. Could someone have spent the money without the F.B.I. ever knowing it?