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SAGE - vs - D.B. Cooper ?

fyi -

Initial Question
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Sage Radar
From: clourim < >
Date: Sun, November 15, 2015 10:00 am
To: "" < >

Hello, my name is Dave Brown. I've been researching the DB Cooper case for some time now. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions if possible. according to the FBI a map was made (flight path) of the plane Cooper hijacked. they said it was made by the air force (McChord)

Two F-106's were scrambled, but never made contact. it's my understanding the planes link up with the sage, but could they make a flight path showing where the plane was during the periods they show on the map. I understand the sage had limited memory, so I'm wondering how they made the map. The FBI doesn't even know who made the map other than the military supplying the map? could the SAGE track, and store all the information that could give them a very good path to give the FBI?

I have a flight simulator that is uncovering timing issues. they claim the plane was flying about 170 KIAS giving about a 3 mile per minute plot. some of the plots are greater than 3 miles making the timing to become inaccurate. I'm a little set back as to the FBI still not speaking about this hijacking that happened over 40 years ago? I fail to see any national security risk, or reason not to open the case to the public. even if Cooper survived I doubt they would charge him, or have him serve time. he would be in his mid 80's by now. what purpose would it serve?

Thank You For Your Time
Dave Brown

My (Ed Thelen) response
> ... the DB Cooper case ...

:-)) I get more interesting questions - Mostly I have to bounce them to others who likely know more.

> it's my understanding the planes link up with the sage, but could they make a flight path showing where the plane was during the periods they show on the map.

But I can guess ;-)) The primary short term memory of the Sage system
      was that newly invented, expensive, core memory
      with was a magnetic drum - drums have very limited memory
which I understand was used to record
      the very recent past and and enable some flight history on present situation maps.
The only long term machine storage of situations in that era
      was likely magnetic tapes.

Recording a series of situations or situation maps
      to magnetic tape on a regular basis was likely
      not used??
Possibly a recorded series of situations or situation maps
      could be used as a training/critique aid ??
Would such have been done on law enforcement request,
      ?on short notice ?? ?? ?? I rather doubt it ??

OK - so much for uninformed guessing :-((

Is there more expert opinion ??

-Ed Thelen

from "David E. Casteel" < >
Subject: RE: Sage Radar
From: "David E. Casteel" < >
Date: Sun, Nov 15, 2015 8:24 pm
To: < >, "'clourim'" < >
Cc: ...

The AN/FSQ-7 SAGE computer had magnetic core memory, which was persistent, even when the computer was powered down. However, upon startup, that memory was usually reset and then reloaded from magnetic tape. Magnetic drums were used for short-term memory, and the data stored there was also persistent and had to be erased or overwritten.

Generally speaking, the core memory was mostly used to store instructions and temporary data values, the magnetic drums held some instructions and history information, and magnetic tapes were either program storage (used to initiate and while running) or history information about tracks for later analysis.

Radar history was kept on a special purpose magnetic drum, which kept several minutes of past radar blips and presented them in sequence to indicate aircraft tracks. Track information was also kept on drums, but it was more fleeting in nature—only the current values were available there. Depending on what the settings were, track data was written to magnetic tapes for review if necessary.

As far as I know, none of the SAGE data would have been immediately available to law enforcement, and probably not even some time later. It is possible that some could have been requested for a specific situation, but there were no communications set up to permit that on a regular basis.

David E. Casteel
Former SAGE Computer Maintenance Officer

from "Roy Mize" < >
Subject: FW: RE: Sage Radar - Info for CHM Database
From: "Roy Mize" < >
Date: Sun, Nov 15, 2015 10:42 pm
To: ...

I attended NIKE school for 18 months and taught NIKE radar/communications electronics for another 18 months. I knew a fair amount about SAGE.

... Nike was never directly linked to SAGE. BOMARC was. There was an intermediate step between the two systems to achieve direct linkup.

Notes: Several BOMARC launch videos on YouTube. This is the best one: