D.B. Cooper checked out the parachutes and the cash. He strapped on a back chute and then a front chute. He filled a third parachute bag with the money. He tied that bag securely to his front chute. The stewardess watched his every move. She was impressed with how "professional" he was.
When he finished, D.B. told the pilot to take off. D.B. said to fly south toward Mexico at 10,000 feet. Once the 727 was airborne, D.B. told the stewardess to go sit up front with the pilot. Sometime later, D.B. opened the rear door of the passenger plane and jumped out. It was dark, and it was cold.
Pilots in the two fighter jets that were following the 727 saw nothing. Nor did their radar detect a descending parachute. D.B. disappeared into the night, and almost 40 years later, D.B. is still a man who simply vanished into thin air.
In 1980, a kid found $6,000 of the marked bills on the bank of the Columbia River, near Portland, Oregon. Had D.B. landed in the river and drowned? Had his body and most of his money eventually drifted into the Pacific? Or, had D.B. left the money there as a ruse, to make the FBI think that he had died? The FBI is angry that D.B. Cooper got away. "If we find that dirtbag, he's going to prison for 30 years," said one agent recently.