D.B. Cooper, The Changing Nature of Hijackings and the Basis for Today’s Airport Security: InvestMacro


Written by Janet BednarekAnd the University of Dayton

Although many Americans may associate airport security with 9/11, it was a wave of hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s that laid the foundation. Today’s airport security protocols.

During that period, the kidnapping occurred, on average, Once every five days globally. The United States has dealt with a crime wave that has reached miles, and has persuaded government officials and reluctant airport executives to adopt the first critical airport security protocols.

the topic New Documentaries on Netflix, hijacker DB Cooper emerged as a popular hero during this era. While other, more violent hijackings have played a greater role in spurring early airport security measures, it was Cooper’s saga that captured the imagination of the American public – and helped change the public perception of the threat of hijackings posed by American air travel and citizens. Safety.

It becomes impossible to ignore accidents

The first plane hijacking happened in 1931 in Peru. Armed revolutionaries approached pilot Byron Richards’ plane and demanded that he fly over Lima so they could shoot down propaganda leaflets. Richards refused, and a 10-day standoff ensued before he was finally released.

This remained a somewhat isolated incident until Late forties and fifties, when several people hijacked planes to flee from Eastern Europe to the West. In the context of the Cold War, Western governments awarded these hijackers Political asylum. Importantly, none of the hijacked planes were flown by American carriers.


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But starting in the early 1960s, hijackers began targeting US airlines. Most of these individuals were Cubans who live in the United States and, for one reason or another, wish to return to their home country and have been banned because of it US ban against Cuba.

US officials have previously responded Officially and specifically made kidnapping a federal crime. Although the new law did not stop kidnappings entirely, crime remained relatively rare. When it did happen, it wasn’t usually a lot of violence.

Officials wanted to downplay the kidnappings as much as possibleThe best way to do this is to simply give the hijacker what they want to avoid loss of life. Above all, airline managers wanted to avoid deterring people from flying, so they resisted implementing alarming security protocols.

That changed in 1968. On July 23 of that year, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine El Al plane hijacked From Rome to Tel Aviv. Although that 39-day ordeal ended without any loss of life, it heralded a new era of more violent – and often politically motivated – hijackings of international airlines.

From 1968 to 1974, US airlines experienced 130 kidnappings. Many fell into this new category of politically motivated kidnappings, including what became known as Field hijackings at Dawson. In September 1970, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked four planes, including three planes belonging to American tankers, and forced them to land at Dawson Square in Libya. No hostages were killed, but the hijackers used explosives to destroy the four planes.

In addition, and of most concern to US officials, two different groups of hijackers, one in 1971 And the Another in 1972threatened to crash planes at nuclear power plants.

Cooper inspires imitators

Amidst this dramatic rise in the number of kidnappings, on November 24, 1971, a man known to the American public as DB Cooper Take a Northwest Orient 727 from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle. Shortly after takeoff, he showed a flight attendant the contents of his bag, which he said was a bomb. Then he ordered the flight attendant to take a note into the cockpit. In it, he ordered $200,000 in $20 bills and four parachutes.

Upon arriving in Seattle, Cooper allowed the other passengers to disembark from the plane in exchange for money and parachutes. Then Cooper ordered the pilot to fly to Mexico, but at a low altitude and slowly – No higher than 10,000 feet (3,048 m) and less than 200 knots (230 mph, 370 km/h). Somewhere between Seattle and a gas station in Reno, Nevada, Cooper and the looting disappeared from the back of the plane via the 727’s. back staircase. No one knows for sure what happened to him, although some money was recovered in 1980.

Cooper wasn’t the first person to hijack an American airliner and demand money. This questionable honor belongs to Arthur Barclay. Frustrated at his inability to persuade government officials to take his dispute with the IRS seriously, on June 4, 1970, Barclay hijacked a TWA plane, demanded $100 million and set up a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court. Barkley’s efforts failed, and he ended up trapped in a mental institution.

However, it is clear that the idea that Cooper might have succeeded has inspired many imitators. While it remains uncertain whether Cooper lived to enjoy the fruits of his adventure, none of his imitators did. was among them Richard McCoy Jr.And the Martin J. McNally And the Frederic HahnemannAll of them successfully parachuted out of the plane once they received the ransom payment, only to be caught and punished.

tighten the screws

In response to the most violent and costly wave of kidnappings, the United States government created The first anti-kidnapping security protocols. Most of them were intended to prevent hijackers from getting on planes in the first place. Procedures included a hijacker’s profile, metal detectors, and X-ray machines. Specific to Cooper, airlines modified aircraft using an innovation known as a cooper feather That made it impossible to open the rear stairs during the flight.

The protocols established in the 1970s also laid the foundation for the expansionary security measures taken after 9/11. A series of court cases have upheld the constitutionality of these early measures. for example, United States vs. Lopezwhich decided in 1971, endorsed the use of a hijacker profile.

Most importantly, in United States vs. Epperson, a federal court ruled in 1972 that the government’s interest in preventing hijackings justified the requirement that passengers pass through an airport magnetometer. In 1973, the Ninth Circuit Court, in United States vs. Davisthat the government’s need to protect passengers from hijackings made all searches of passengers for weapons and explosives reasonable and legal.

These provisions supporting early anti-kidnapping measures helped create Strong legal foundations For the rapid adoption of the most stringent security protocols – including detailed identification checks, random inspections and whole-body scans – adopted after 9/11.

The mystery surrounding Cooper’s fate may have given him a large place in American popular culture, but his crime should also be remembered as one of the subsequent waves of hijackings that forced the US government, airline managers, and eventually airport officials to embrace the first. Issues the security measures that travelers take for granted today.Conversation

About the author:

Janet Bednarekprofessor of history University of Dayton

This article has been republished from Conversation Under a Creative Commons License. Read the original article.


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