Unlicensed 74 Years Old Pilot Has Landed In Trouble <





Unlicensed 74 Years Old Pilot Has Landed In Trouble

By Mike Mitchell

January 26, 2010- Teddy Ernest Mayfield a 74 year old Oregon man, who some believe is D. B. Cooper, Has once again, violated FAA regulations when he piloted his single engine airplane from Eugene Airport to Independence Airport on June 19, 2008, without being properly licensed. D. B. Cooper is a man who on November 24, 1971, hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 aircraft, extorted $200,000 from its owner and leaped from the airborne 727 with 21 pounds of $20 bills strapped to his torso. Cooper has never been found, more about Cooper in a minute. Mayfield has a long history of FAA violations and a criminal past that includes armed robbery and stealing an aircraft and flying it across state lines.  

Eugene Airport is a controlled airport with a control tower and any aircraft taxiing, departing or arriving to or from the airport requires the pilot to maintain radio communications. Mayfield brought the attention onto himself when he took off from Eugene Airport, also known as Mahlon Sweet Field, without receiving taxi and takeoff approval from the control tower. As a result of Mayfield’s failure to contact ATC, the FAA began an investigation. 


Mayfield first told FAA investigators that another pilot with him had flown the flight of June 19, 2008. However, investigators leaned that the other pilot was at work at the time. Mayfield then reported in his defense, that at the time he attempted to contact the tower, but his battery in the aircraft was low, so he could not raise ATC on the radio. He then attempted to use “light signals” and then believed he was given clearance for taxi and take off.  

Mayfield was convicted in Oregon’s U.S. District Court by Judge Michael R. Hogan on January 19, 2010, of operating an aircraft without a FAA license. The Judge ordered Mayfield to pay a $2,000 fine, serve three years probation and  prohibited from from operating, construct or repair aviation equipment. 

Mayfield has a history of violating FAA regulations dating back to when he first got his student pilot certificate in 1967. At that time Mayfield’s student pilot certificate was revoked for illegally carrying a passenger during a flight. However, he was later able to get his private pilot's license and then a commercial pilot’s license in 1972. However, Mayfield’s pilot’s license was once again revoked for failure to report on his medical his criminal history. Mayfield opened up a skydiving school called the Pacific Parachute Center in Sheridan, Oregon where he taught several hundred students the art of parachuting. Mayfield continued to fly airplanes without being a licensed pilot.


Mayfield came up on the radar screen again when it was learned that 13 skydiving students had fallen to their deaths due to their parachutes failing to open. In 1994, Mayfield was sentences to 4 months in federal prison for flying without a pilot’s license. And in 1995, in Yamhill County Circuit Court, Mayfield pled guilty for the deaths of two students; the death in 1993 of student Charles Schaefer and the death in 1994 of student Lee Perry Sr. Mayfield received 5 months for criminal negligent homicide. The court believed Mayfield was criminally responsible for the deaths of his students as the court believed the parachutes that Mayfield had packed were faulty. That same year, Mayfield’s Parachute Rigger Certificate had been revoked by the FAA.  

D. B. Cooper is the name attributed to a man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the United States on November 24, 1971, received US$200,000 in ransom, and parachuted from the plane. The name he used to board the plane was Dan Cooper, but through a later press miscommunication, he became known as "D. B. Cooper". Despite hundreds of leads through the years, no conclusive evidence has ever surfaced regarding Cooper's true identity or whereabouts, and the bulk of the money has never been recovered. Several theories offer competing explanations of what happened after his famed jump, but the FBI believes he did not survive.  

The nature of Cooper's escape and the uncertainty of his fate continue to intrigue people. The Cooper case (code-named "Norjak" by the FBI) is the only unsolved U.S. aircraft hijacking, and one of the few such cases anywhere in the world, along with Malaysia Airlines Flight 653. 

The Cooper case has baffled government and private investigators for decades, with countless leads turning into dead ends. As late as March 2008, the FBI thought it might have had a breakthrough when children unearthed a parachute within the bounds of Cooper's probable jump site near the town of Amboy, Washington. Experts later determined that it did not belong to the hijacker. 

Despite the case's enduring lack of evidence, a few significant clues have arisen. In late 1978, a placard containing instructions on how to lower the aft (back) stairs of a 727, later confirmed to be from the rear stairway of the plane from which Cooper jumped, was found just a few flying minutes north of Cooper's projected drop zone. In February 1980, on the banks of the Columbia River, eight-year-old Brian Ingram found $5,880 in decaying $20 bills, which proved to be part of the original ransom. 

In October 2007, the FBI claimed that it had obtained a partial DNA profile of Cooper from the tie he left on the hijacked plane. On December 31, 2007, the FBI revived the unclosed case by publishing never-before-seen composite sketches and fact sheets online in an attempt to trigger memories that could possibly identify Cooper. In a press release, the FBI reiterated that it does not believe Cooper survived the jump, but expressed an interest in ascertaining his identity. 

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