It is the rule breakers, the limit pushers, who show us what’s possible. We are inspired by those who manage, through cleverness, to rise above ordinary and reach unexpected heights. Of course, this admiration isn’t always limited to those who operate within the strictest confines of the law. Throughout history, we have made smugglers, pirates, and bank robbers into famous heroes…or infamous anti-heroes.
Once in the air, he used the threat of a bomb in his briefcase to hijack the Northwest Orient plane
On Nov 24, 1971, an otherwise average man calling himself Dan Cooper boarded a Boeing 727 headed north out of Portland, bound for Seattle. He settled in, ordered a bourbon and soda, and bided his time. Flight attendants remembered him as polite, dignified and extraordinarily calm. Once in the air, he used the threat of a bomb in his briefcase to hijack the Northwest Orient plane. On the ground in Seattle, he traded 36 captive passengers for $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. The extra parachutes were meant to convince authorities to believe he planned to make the crew jump with him – ensuring none of the parachutes would be faulty. He ordered the crew to fly him to Mexico City.
Then, nearly two miles up, somewhere close to the the tiny town of Ariel, Washington, he bid them farewell. With the cash strapped to his business suit, he parachuted out into the night, promptly disappearing from the very face of the earth. FBI agents quickly descended upon Ariel – searching the nearby woods and spending evenings drinking in the town’s only bar. Though residents recalled hearing a low-flying aircraft that evening, the agents found nothing.
Today the case is closed, but unsolved, as evidence of the man or the parachute was never recovered. Whether his heist was a spectacular success, or fatal failure, we can only guess. The man may be gone, but his legend lives on.
This story is one of many delightful, lesser-told, Pacific Northwest centric stories that inspired our coffee blend names. We hope you enjoy reading them over a cup of great coffee.