They both liked 727s:
For $400,000, [the Discovery Channel] bought a Boeing 727-212 that once carried Bob Dole during his 1996 Republican presidential campaign. The model, which was popular in the 1960s and ’70s, was chosen because its cockpit and fuselage are similar to the 737, today’s industry workhorse.The 727 offered another advantage: an unusual rear stairway beneath the fuselage that allowed the crew to parachute out.
That rear stairway, you may recall, is how D.B. Cooper made his escape after he hijacked a Northwest Orient flight in 1971.
The tidbit about Dole’s plane comes from a USA Today story about a TV program, Curiosity, that crashed the 727 in Mexico to test the survivability of airline disasters. (They claim crashes are very survivable, which seems dubious. But let it pass.)
In case you’re wondering: Bob Dole probably couldn’t actually be the elusive D.B. Cooper. He was wounded in World War II and lost the use of his right arm, which would likely have prevented him from tying up the ransom money, parachuting out the 727’s rear stairway, etc. Also, he was a sitting U.S. senator at the time. It’s nice to dream, though.
Also, no, the two men didn’t fly in the exact same 727. The D.B. Cooper 727 was sold a few times and finally scrapped for parts in… 1996. (The same year Dole ran for president! Eerie.)