OLD–The real D.B. Cooper?-OLD

William J. Smith makes for a compelling D.B. Cooper suspect:

  • Aviation experience gained as a combat air crewman and reconnaissance photographer in the Navy during and after World War II.
  • Fits the description of the hijacker.  He was 43 in 1971, and was approximately 5’10” and 170 pounds.  Had olive skin and dark brown eyes due to his Eastern European ancestry.
  • Understood aerodynamics of planes from his Navy experience, to include larger reconnaissance aircraft such as the B-24 variant used by the Navy.
  • A gentleman.
  • Familiar with parachutes and survival from his training in the Navy.
  • Understood maps and how to identify targets from the air due to his military training.  He would have known his general location from the air.
  • Had a sudden need for money due to the Lehigh Valley Railroad bankruptcy that caused layoffs and loss of pension.  This bankruptcy was part of the Penn Central bankruptcy, the biggest in U.S. history up until that time.
  • Had a significant grudge against the airline industry for their role in bringing about the bankruptcies and downfall of the railroads. His father and many friends worked for the railroads too.
  • Had the means to escape from the area where he landed, by boarding a train at a rail yard or at a station.
  • Was familiar with the Seattle area through his friend Dan Clair and an uncle who were both stationed at Fort Lewis during World War II.
  • Lived far enough away that he would not be a suspect to local and state law enforcement.
  • Familiar with refueling operations of airplanes from the Navy, and familiar with refueling operations from diesel trains.
  • As a railroad Yardmaster would have been familiar with handling the many stressful situations on the plane.
  • Had a childhood acquaintance named Ira Daniel Cooper who lived in his neighborhood in Jersey City, NJ and attended his high school. Cooper was later killed in World War II.
  • Worked around machinery, to include drill presses as well as coal and freight that could account for particles found on the clip on tie.
  • Lived a normal life, not one of luxury.  He would never have raised a red flag by spending the money.
  • Had access to railroad flares that could have been used to make a realistic looking fake bomb.
  • He is believed to be the man who communicated with author Max Gunther in 1972, claiming to be D.B. Cooper.

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