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Lessons That Live Air Group 31 A Message Japan Air Power Doomed? Where? Dilbert A Naval Aviator Fate

It seems that every aviator goes through a period early in his career, somewhere between 300 and 800 hours of flight time, where he knows everything and can't be taught anymore - or at least so he thinks. With the great expansion of air forces required by America's entry into World War II, this phenomenon reared its ugly head especially in the U.S. Navy, where operational accidents by newly trained aviatiors seemed to skyrocket.

dilbert1.jpg (14131 bytes) The cartoon character originally named "Dilbert Groundloop" was conceived by Capt. Austin Doyle, USN and Lt. Cdr. Robert Osborn, USNR in the weeks after Pearl Harbour, with Osborn being the artist. The name was quickly shortened to just "Dilbert" and in a series of one panel sketches on flyers and in training pamphlets, Dilbert quickly became a sort of anti-hero as the classic head-up-and-locked pilot just looking for an accident.
Older experienced aviators knew to avoid the brightly colored primary and basic trainers, but it was hard to know what a "700-hour stage" pilot might do, such as Dilbert. dilbert2.jpg (18474 bytes)
dilbert3.jpg (17303 bytes) The classic "kick-the-tires and light-the-fires", too hurried to worry about a preflight inspection sort of accident seemed a normal event for Dilbert.
Although Dilbert represented the worst of commissioned aviators, his "cousin", Spoiler, helped teach enlisted ground crewmen how not to foul up, too. Here, Spoiler's indestinct marshalling signals are no help to the pilot. spoiler.jpg (11200 bytes)


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E-mail to Randy Wilson: avhistory@rwebs.net