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The Brent Downs Memorial for Hijack Prevention


The materials in this collection document the 1971 skyjacking incident involving failed hostage negotiations and resulted in the death of the pilot, Brent Downs and the estranged wife of the hijacker. This material was requested as part of the One Time Grant Proposal by Dr. Tomas C. Mijares to further support the mission of the Criminal Justice Department at Texas State University in areas of management, to support the A.L.E.R.R.T. opereration in training law enforcement personnel as first responders, and to also support the graduate level program in intelligence analysis. Other academic departments such as History and Political Science will also find value in the collection.

Included in the collection: Audio tapes of the hijacking and hostage negotiations;  crime scene photos; FBI memos, and documents; court documents.

After the case was dismissed due to procedural issues, the judge sealed the material and only recently the detailed material was ordered unsealed with the proviso that it remain physically in the custody of the United States Department of Justice.

However, on June 18, 2010, copies of the sealed material have been made available to the family of the pilot of the hi-jacked aircraft who was killed during the attempted hostage rescue.

To hear more information about the case and the subsequent research, visit the documentary website


The Downs Collection can be accessed via the library website by this URL:


Organization of Files:

Aircraft 58 November Hijacking Tapes

Within this section are the audio clips of the hijacking; It is assumed they are in chronological order (most titles start with the first few words of the conversation on the audio or may even refer to it as Dead air.)

Brent Downs Memorial for Hijack Prevention

Within this section you find: 

a. Crime Scene photos
b. Photos
c. Depositions
d. Downs vs. US docket information
e. FBI Internal
f. Federal Court Filings
g. Tape transcripts
h. Testimony
i. Under seal memos, motions, etc.
j. Written statements

FOIA FBI Memos 1971

Within this section are the FBI memos divided into subsections (Oct. 1817, Nov. 1971, and Dec. 1971)

FOIA FBI Outside Inquires

Within this section are scanned documents of FBI inquiries to outside entities (i.e. Senators, individual citizens)


Below is how Mr. Downs described how he organized the files.

Identified each file as deposition, testimony, exhibits, and then taking those areas and organizing them into individual testimony, or deposition, and also making sure the page numbers are identified on each file.

1. Testimony

     1a. The Volume numbers

     1b. The names of the witnesses

     1c. The page numbers on each file name.


2. Depositions

     2a. The names of witnesses


3. Motions, orders, complaint filings

     3a. By date