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The Golden Era of Hijacking Planes

The Hijacking of American Flight 119
Author Photo: Natalie Wigger
John Wigger
The Hijacking of American Flight 119

If you were born in post-9/11 America, the idea of a plane getting hijacked is terrifying. But once upon a time hijackers seemed more interested in the thrill than instilling fear. And one of them even became a kind of folk hero.

That’s what happened to D.B. Cooper. His 1971 hijacking of a Boeing 727 captivated the nation and stumped the FBI. Cooper was never caught; in fact, his identity was never discovered . But his exploits did inspire a wave of copycat hijackings, and they’re the subject of a new book — including the story of one man who stole a plane and jumped out over Provo with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Join us for a conversation about the strange, daring time when a high-altitude heist could really make you into somebody.


John Wigger | Professor of History at the University of Missouri. His book is “The Hijacking of American Flight 119: How D.B. Cooper Inspired a Skyjacking Craze and the FBI’s Battle to Stop It” [Amazon|Bookshop].

Airdate: Feb. 7, 2024 at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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