(guys jumping, looking from inside the plane) Stuntment recreate the jump for the 1981 movie The Pursuit Of DB Cooper starring Robert Duvall, Treat Williams and Kathryn Harrold
50 years ago, on November 24 1971, a Boeing 727 of Northwest Orient Airlines flying from Portland to Seattle was hijacked by a man who had what looked like a bomb in his briefcase, whose ticket was issued to a Dan Cooper, later universally known as DB Cooper due to a mistake by a local reporter.
(guys jumping, from outside the Perris plane) An old DC-9 is used by the Perris Corporation for professional jumpers, making use of the ventral stairs
The ransom was $200,000 ($1.3 million in 2020), four parachutes, and a refuel, in return for the passengers lives. The 727 circled over Seattle for two hours while the money and chutes were sourced (passengers were told it was a slight mechanical problem). After landing, the airline’s station manager took the ransom onboard (having changed into street clothes so that the hijacker wouldn’t mistake him for a policeman), and the plane took off again, with instructions to level off at 10,000 feet on a SE heading and fly with flaps 20 at minimum speed, around 100 knots. The hijacker lowered the aft stairs and jumped.
(magazine cover) Life magazine showing the 727's ventral stairs partially open as the hijacking craze took over American skies
(plane on the ground with the stairs) Ventral stairs on the Getty family's private 727 (aka the "Jetty")
The FBI had at one point over 800 suspects, later narrowed to around 20. In 1980 an 8 year old boy found three bundles of notes on the bank of the Columbia River in rural Washington state, the only money from the ransom that has ever turned up, despite rewards offered by various newspapers, the airline and their insurance company. The investigation was officially wound down in 2016. As an aside, there were at least five copycat incidents the following year, all caught by law enforcement after they landed, thanks to electronic trackers inside parachutes and poor planning (one guy left his truck waiting in place, complete with United States Parachuting Association bumper sticker).
(obvs) FBI impression of the hijacker; his real name was never known
There are various theories about DB Cooper’s identity. I don’t think the FBI ever got close to figuring out who he was. One overlooked theory is that he was a member of a special forces unit on a dare. If the motive was money, his remains or at least the chute would have been found if he hadn’t survived, or some of the money would have turned up in circulation by now if he had survived. Very interesting mystery — the world’s only unsolved case of air piracy.
(plane taxiing with snow) The actual aircraft, tail number N467US, a Boeing 727-151 delivered to Northwest Orient Airlines in 1965, retired in 1985 after also flying for Piedmont Airlines and Key Air, and scrapped in Greenwood Mississippi in 1992