Supporting truth and rational thinking with a sense of humor


I am not D. B. Cooper

November 23, 2006

I titled this essay "I am not D. B. Cooper" because of the flack and unintended attention--official scrutiny is a better phrase--that I created for myself by putting the following advertisement in a Philadelphia, PA newspaper shortly after the hijacking.

I thought it was quite hilarious--I still do!--and so did everyone who worked for me or jumped at my DZ. The FBI, the New Jersey State Police, and the law firm representing the newspaper thought otherwise.

I placed the ad in 1971 in a now-defunct paper which catered to college students in the Delaware Valley around Philadelphia. The ad-taker for the paper thought it was totally cool and saw the humor.

Because of the scrutiny created by the original advert the paper refused to print a correction. Notice the 'contact' person's name is spelled "LD" rather than "DB".

I had been advertising with the paper regularly and placed it verbally by calling in and dictating it to the person I spoke with for all my other ads. I placed the ad within an hour after hearing about the hijacking on a local Philadelphia radio station.

I'm not sure how the ad-taker mixed up "DB" and "LD" but there it is. I remember laughing so hard when I wrote the copy that maybe I was laughing when I read it to the ad-taker. The guys who worked in my shop were cracking up for hours after realizing that I actual placed it.

I called the paper immediately after seeing the incorrect initials and asked the paper to correct them and run the ad again. No way!

The paper's legal department was fielding calls from the FBI and others asking why the paper  would even run the ad in the first place.

Imagine what would happen if someone tried to print an ad like that today.

The best part about the ad was the terrific buzz that it created. Within a week of placing it I was interviewed by half a dozen media reporters. I told them all that I was not D. B. Cooper. I received very nice coverage for my DZ which attracted more first time jumpers than I could have reached without all the buzz. Maybe most of the students wanted to have the hijacker teach them how to jump.

At the time, my DZ was the new kid on the block. The Parachutes Incorporated drop zone in Lakewood, NJ was operational as well as Steve Snyder's Ripcord Parachute Center. I got a very big laugh when visiting Ripcord and seeing my advertisement and an FBI poster side by side on their bulletin board. Guys who jumped at Ripcord told me the ad was there for years. [One Ripcord old-timer sent me a private message recently to say that my advert was there for at least four years.]

A recent topic in the forums sections of a website that I visit too many times a day,, contains comments and questions from a woman who is attempting to find information on the infamous cult figure D. B. Cooper who hijacked the 727 airplane 35 years ago on Thanksgiving Eve, 1971.

Her posting and the many comments by others caused me to search through my 'stuff' for the ad. I'm kind of surprised that it held up so well after 35 years.

In the forum she writes that her husband, Duane L. Weber, claimed that he was the infamous D. B. Cooper just 11 days before he died back in 1995.

The lady identified herself with this sentence in her post to the forum:

"Jo Weber, Widow of Duane L. Weber aka Dan Cooper as he told me, plus the many aliases that he is known to have used."

Mrs. Weber has taken quite a bit of totally unnecessary and disappointing abuse from some of the folks posting to the forum. They are all skydivers; she is not.

Never the less, I was quite surprised that anyone would attack her for trying to get to the bottom of a mystery which remains unsolved after 35 years and may involve her deceased husband.

If you want to see the thread click HERE.

While looking for the advertisement in my stuff I came upon an old 1981 movie titled "The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper" staring Robert Duvall, Treat Williams and the quite beautiful Kathryn Harrold as DB's wife. The movie is entertaining but Hollywood-corny in the parts dealing with flying and jumping.

If I were Mrs. Weber I think I would attempt to reach the producers or director of the movie for any information they may have. A Google search using the movie title should find all sorts of contact information.

The movie was based upon a book titled "Free Fall" written by J. D. Reed.

Good luck to Mrs. Weber and Blue Skies to all hijacker training or not.

If you have comments or question regarding this document send email to me at the following address sayers at by replacing the 'at' with '@' and removing the spaces.

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