You may have heard the story of D.B. Cooper, the unidentified plane hijacker who disappeared with $200,000 somewhere near Vancouver, Washington back in the day. But it’s more than just an old true crime story. The unusual thief and his mysterious disappearance over the skies of Southwest Washington left a mark on the region inspiring craft breweries, escape rooms, events, and detailed conspiracy theories. 2021 marked 50 years since Cooper’s jump into the night on November 24, 1971, never to be seen again, captivating the Pacific Northwest for decades.
INSPIRED & UNIQUE LOCATIONS
Victor 23 Craft Brewing
The Vancouver craft brewery and pub Victor 23 is “Where Craft Beer and Grand Larceny Meet,” embracing the adventurous history of the Pacific Northwest. The brewery is named after the airway that runs from Portland to Seattle (and passes directly over Vancouver)—the same route that the infamous D.B. Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727 on and parachuted to an uncertain fate. Commemorating the unsolved crime, patrons are invited to ponder the case over a cold pint of Skyjacker IPA, Flight 305 Amber, Jet Fuel Imperial IPA, or Schaffner Pilsner (Schaffner was the stewardess on flight 305).
Operation D.B. Cooper: NW Escape Experience
It’s all fun and games at Vancouver’s NW Escape Experience with year-round award-winning escape rooms including Operation D.B. Cooper. Uncover clues while working with your team and the FBI to track down the infamous D.B. Cooper to a remote cabin in the woods. It’s believed he has been hiding there since he parachuted from a hijacked airplane with nearly $200,000 in ransom money. It’s an escape room like no other, filled with twists and turns while trying to find the high-flying airborne criminal.
D.B. Cooper Significant Local Locations
Based on the flight path, detectives originally thought Cooper jumped over Ariel, Washington, searching around the Lewis River Drainage. Search parties were put together by both Clark and Cowlitz Counties, as well as the FBI, but nothing was found—until the early 1980s during a family camping trip when a young boy named Brian Ingram found $5,800 at Tena Bar (now closed to the public) on the Columbia River. The discovery excited investigators since it was on the flight path, and according to the serial numbers, was Cooper’s cash. Nonetheless, in 2016, after 45 years of investigating, the FBI closed the puzzling case, leaving it to be the only unsolved skyjacking in American history. Today, some adventure seekers head to Caterpillar Island, upstream from where the famed skyjacker’s money turned up. The island, on the west side of the Vancouver Lake Lowlands, has four picnic sites and is accessible by boat.
COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS & MEDIA
This fall, fans, and sleuths gather in Vancouver to celebrate the anniversary of the infamous skyjacking during CooperCon22, November 18–20. Sponsored by Cooper expert Eric Ulis and hosted by Dan Wyatt (owner of Vancouver’s historic Kiggins Theatre), lore, details, and conspiracy theories will be debated and analyzed. Attendees will get to see a real Cooper $20 bill from the ransom money found at Tena Bar, a parachute just like the one Cooper used, a tie clip just like the one Cooper left behind on the jet, and much more. Additional CooperCon 2022 details will be updated regularly as the date nears.
D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?
See some popular Vancouver WA locations in the new Netflix Documentary, DB Cooper: Where Are You? The mini-series follows the 50-year quest to find Cooper, the man who hijacked a Northwest Airlines passenger jet in November 1971 and escaped with $200,000. Watch as experts discuss the perplexing case and see if you can spot local features like Victor23 Brewing, Kiggins Theatre, and more!
Re-imagined Radio: The D.B. Cooper Saga
Past Cooper-themed events include the Re-Imagined Radio performances of The D.B. Cooper Saga, a series of contemporary radio dramas by Dan Wyatt. The saga details a man known only as "D.B. Cooper" a legend in the Pacific Northwest among the likes of UFOs, Sasquatch, and Mount St. Helens. Re-Imagined Radio presented three separate radio performances of Skyjacker '71, In Flight, D.B. Cooper, and The Skyjacker during November of past years. Fans and enthusiasts alike can still listen to the broadcasts and recorded performances; each part of the saga and its details are listed on the Re-imagined Radio website.