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Local author claims to be son of D.B. Cooper

From left, Jack Collins and Bud Collins at the Renton Municipal Airport on Oct. 30, 1971.  - Photo courtesy of Bradley Collins
From left, Jack Collins and Bud Collins at the Renton Municipal Airport on Oct. 30, 1971.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Bradley Collins

Bradley Collins reveals his dad’s lifelong secret

 

Local resident Bradley Collins recently published his book titled: “My Father Was D.B. Cooper.”

In 2009, the evening news revisited the hijacking on the 38th anniversary of the event and replayed the original footage of the Boeing 727 Northwest Airlines Flight 305. It was while watching this footage that Collins finally revealed to his wife, Robin, that he believed his father, Jack Collins, and uncle, Romaine ‘Bud’ Collins, were the men behind the hijacking and finally was going to put the mystery to rest by writing a book, Collins said.

“So my belief, which is 100 percent, is that these two men, brothers, conceived, planned and got away with this crime,” Collins writes within the first few pages of his book.

Quick history lesson

The legend goes something like this: On Nov. 24, 1971, a businessman using the alias of Dan Cooper, but more commonly referred to as D.B. Cooper, hijacked a plane traveling from Portland, Ore., to Seattle threatening a bomb within a briefcase as his leverage. Once the plane landed in Seattle, the hijacker let the passengers disembark the aircraft and after receiving his request for $200,000 and some parachutes, Cooper told the captain to head for Mexico. However, long before the plane ever touched ground again, Cooper jumped out into the darkness and was never seen again. To this day the story behind the hijacking, which is now referred to as “skyjacking,” goes unsolved, nor has the real identity of D.B. Cooper ever been discovered.

The book

Perhaps Collins’ book is the answer to the 43-year-old mystery.

“I told my wife that I have time now so I am going to write this book,” Collins said. “I wrote the rough draft by the next morning.”

Originally the book was 133 pages, but after going through the editing and publishing process the book is a short and concise 66 pages long. It took Collins nearly a year to find a publishing company because he “was looking for the right company to work with,” Collins said. He eventually went with a London-based company.

The book rewinds time and gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Bradley Collins as a young teenager and the series of events and conversations that led him to believe his father was the infamous D.B. Cooper.

Collins said he remembers watching the late-night newscast with his mother, Grace Collins, in the living room of their Edmonds home and together agreeing that Jack Collins was the man skyjacking the plane. Collins explains it was with the help from his uncle, a seasoned airline captain for Northwest Orient, that his father was able to pull off such a stunt.

Collins said he remembers his dad having a passion for parachuting and had completed “around 500 jumps.” Collins’ father not only had the experience needed to make the risky jump, but also the motive.

“I am one of nine children,” Collins said.

Although, Collins’ older sister, Wendy, died at a young age, Jack Collins had many mouths to feed and although he had a consistent job as a insurance salesman at Franklin Life Insurance, “he could definitely use the extra money and he was just crazy enough to do it,” Collins said.

Although the rough draft came together quickly for Collins, putting it out to the public wasn’t quite as easy, as he realizes the magnitude of the claim he’s making by proclaiming to be the son of D.B. Cooper.

“Before I came out with this (the book) it took more courage than you can imagine,” Collins said.

More to come

Although Collins’ first book lays out the foundation of the 1971 skyjacking, it lacks any scientific evidence proving that Cooper really is Jack Collins. For now, it’s the “written, verbal and photographic evidence,” Collins said that makes his case about the mystery of Cooper and it won’t be until Collins’ second book that additional evidence will be disclosed to assure any remaining skeptics.

“I already have it (the second book) written, I just need to put it together and finalize it,” Collins said.

In addition to more evidence tying D.B. Cooper to Jack Collins, the second book also will have some of Collins’ poems about the skyjacking, Collins said.

Below is a segment of a poem by Collins. The poem in its entirety will appear in his second book, which will be released within a year or two, he said.

“The younger brother Bud …

He flew those planes … to make the weekly gains …

But the older brother … the ‘Jumping Jack’ …

He stepped into the nighttime darkness … with the cash …”

Reach Alana Linderoth at alinderoth@sequimgazette.com.

 

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