D.B. Cooper, Escapist From The Sky: Chapter 1-Part 1: Quiet Takeover


Spencer Smith

In the evening of November 24th, 1971, an older man carrying a briefcase walked into Portland International Airport and purchased a one way ticket to Seattle, Washington. The individual identified themself as Dan Cooper and soon afterwards, boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 305. Upon boarding the aircraft, Cooper made himself comfortable amongst the rear right row of seats, seating himself closely in relation to the flight attendants. After ordering an alcoholic beverage and having a smoke, Dan awaited the flight to be cleared for departure. However, once the aircraft was cleared for departure, Cooper handed a note to one of the flight attendants, Florence Schaffner, which requested that she come and sit next to him.

Not only did the note request that the flight attendant come and take a seat next to Dan, but it also revealed that he was carrying a bomb inside of his suitcase. Taking a seat next to him, Cooper revealed that what he had stated inside of the note was real, opening the suitcase that he carried onboard with him which displayed roughly eight sticks of dynamite. Upon seeing this, Cooper took this opportunity to state his demands, which were along the lines of: “I want $200,000 by 5:00 P.M. in cash. Put it in a knapsack. I want two back parachutes and two front parachutes. When we land, I want a fuel truck ready to refuel.” He also stated that if any of his demands were deliberately failed to be met, he would “do the job.”  After the reveal and announcement of demands, Schaffner went to inform the cockpit crew while another flight attendant, Tina Mucklow, remained by Cooper’s side. 

Mucklow remained on the phone during her time beside D.B. , acting somewhat as a bridge between Dan and the rest of the flight crew for the rest of the hijacking. During this time, Flight 305 held a holding pattern near Seattle in order to buy time for authorities to acquire the ransom money of which Cooper initially demanded alongside the four parachutes. At 5:45 PM, Flight 305 finally landed in its intended destination of Seattle. Upon landing, the aircraft was brought to a remote section of the tarmac, where the ransom money and the parachutes were able to be delivered after the flight finally came to a stop. In exchange for his demands being met, Dan agreed to let all of the passengers alongside two of the flight attendants disembark the aircraft.