How D.B. Cooper Forever Changed Airline Travel

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  How D.B. Cooper Forever Changed Airline Travel

After landing the plane in Tacoma, Washington, Cooper’s demands were met, and most of the people on the flight were allowed to leave. He then ordered the pilot to fly him to Mexico City. However, when he was informed that there wouldn’t be enough fuel, Cooper agreed to refuel the plane in Reno, Nevada, according to Esquire. After take-off, the situation changed drastically. Before the plane even had the chance to leave the Pacific Northwest, Cooper lowered the rear stairwell of the craft and jumped out, taking with him the cash, the parachutes, and the handwritten note he had initially given to the flight attendant.

While the idea of Cooper’s jump might impress some, it was extremely risky, and whether or not he actually survived his nighttime skydive into the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest remains a mystery to this day. His ability to even attempt the jump in the first place put authorities on high alert, and changes were implemented. His stunt led the Federal Aviation Administration to install “Cooper Vanes” into each Boeing 727 aircraft (per History). The Cooper Vane is a latch attached to any Boeing 727 with a rear stairwell and prevents passengers, or anyone else, from opening and lowering the stairwell mid-flight. So there’s no skydiving out the back of a commercial plane in this day and age.

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