What do BOUNCE and FAMILIAR mean in a WWII airman's logbook?
April 7, 2011 9:12 AM   Subscribe

NAVY TERMINOLOGY HELP! I'm reading through my grandpa's old flight logs (he was on the crew of a PBY during WWII), and just need help deciphering a couple of terms I see again and again. Both are located in the "Remarks" column of the logbook: FAMILIAR & BOUNCE. Other terms like Ferry, Scouting, Patrol, and Photography are pretty self explanatory, but I have no idea what these two mean. Any help?
posted by rawredmeat to Law & Government (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can we get some context for the words? A sentence, maybe?
posted by amodelcitizen at 9:15 AM on April 7, 2011

From here:

Bounce - (1) Carrier landing practice. (2) (older usage) Surprise air-to-air attack by a fighter, usually from above and behind.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:26 AM on April 7, 2011

Just a guess: maybe a bounce was a touch and go? The wheels touch the ground and immediately the pilot throttles up and takes off again, so it's kind of like you "bounce" off the ground. Or water I guess, in the case of a seaplane. The carrier landing slang might have been extended to a seaplane.

Familiar: maybe landing/operating in a familiar area?
posted by Quietgal at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2011

Response by poster: That's the thing- there is no sentence or context- it's literally just one word: BOUNCE or FAMILIAR.
posted by rawredmeat at 9:43 AM on April 7, 2011

I would suspect that FAMILIAR might be short for "familiarization", perhaps to a new aircraft, aircraft type, or geographic area.
posted by procrastination at 9:54 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the coast guard often talks about "area familiarization" for those new to the base (ie, boating around to match maps to reality), so I like procrastination's guess.
posted by ldthomps at 10:03 AM on April 7, 2011

Ex-naval aircraft type here (fixing, not flying).
Quietgal, has it right for bounce. It's just landing practice without all the trouble coming to a full stop, you can get multiple tries in much quicker this way.

Procrastination has it right for Familiar.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:07 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

A Bounce could mean that he missed the wires, too. Carrier landings usually involve going full throttle as soon as you hit the deck; all the braking force is provided by the arresting wires. That way, if you miss them you don't fall off the end of the deck, you just take off again.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:45 AM on April 7, 2011

Current Naval Aviator type here (helos) - I concur with Confess, Fletch, procrastination and Quietgal. We still do Day Bounces and Night Bounces, although these days it'll go in our logbooks as a DLQ (Deck Landing Qualification) flight. Familiarization flights in a training environment are your first couple of flights doing something new and have been further shortened to FAM - so we do DAY FAMs and NIGHT FAMs. It's also used as shorthand for a refresher flight - if someone's been out of the cockpit for a prescribed period of time for some reason, they'll usually get a couple of FAM flights to get them back up to speed in the aircraft.

Here's a link to the Naval Aviation History site if you want to look at some of the broader context of your Grandfather's service. For instance, if you know what squadron he was with, you can look up where he was at various points during the war.
posted by macfly at 11:27 AM on April 7, 2011

In WWII military aviation, BOUNCE could refer to a surprise attack. In the case of PBYs, their targets were Japanese warships and German U-boats, as well as supply convoys.

BOUNCE can also refer to landing practice (on a carrier or, in the case of PBYs, on the water itself) and/or to bounced landing recovery.

Missions were usually referred to as DAY BOUNCE or NIGHT BOUNCE, but if your grandpa was by chance a member of the Black Cats, his missions would have primarily taken place at night, so just plain BOUNCE might have been enough.

PBYs also did reconnaissance, search and rescue, and escorts. The term FERRY in a PBY flight log usually referred to escorting a convoy. It can also refer to flying a plane to a new base of operations.

You might be able to look up your grandpa's plane on this site.
posted by amyms at 11:48 AM on April 7, 2011

Another Naval Aviator here (fixed wing, not helo - though macfly knows perfectly well what he's talking about) chiming in. They're right... 'bouncing' is FCLPs - field carrier landing practice. You have to have so many per month, even when you're not on the carrier, to stay current so FCLPs is a convenient way to keep your numbers up. Not so fun for the guy sitting in the back seat. BORING!

'Familiar' is indeed a FAM flight. As in 'familiarization' for all the various reasons mentioned.

Way to go Grandpa!
posted by matty at 12:36 PM on April 7, 2011

Missing all the wires is a Bolter not a bounce. Utterly irrelevent to PBY's though, there's no wires in the water.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:30 PM on April 7, 2011

"Bounce" might mean landing practice, but, in the case of a PBY, it wouldn't be from a carrier. PBYs were flying boats and operated off the ocean surface. They had little vestigial wheels that allowed them to be pulled onto land for servicing, but there's no way a PBY could operate off a carrier.

So, "bounce" was probably landing practice on the water.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:06 PM on April 7, 2011

I was unclear, boltering is irrelevant to PBY's.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:48 PM on April 7, 2011

Response by poster: This is all great! Thanks so much, everybody!
posted by rawredmeat at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2011

Others have said it, FAMILIAR is almost certainly a familiarization flight. My stepdad (ex-USAF crew chief) used to say a phrase, it was " (something) and FAM", it was a rhyming jargon for (something) and familiarization. Can't remember what the first part was though. :(
posted by xedrik at 2:14 PM on April 8, 2011

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