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Where did the expression "Balls to the wall" originate? Is there anything about the phrase that actually relates to anything anywhere?

Frydaze1
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The phrase balls to the wall, meaning an all-out effort, comes from the world of aviation.
On an airplane, the handles controlling the throttle and the fuel mixture are often topped
with ball-shaped grips, referred to by pilots as (what else?) balls. Pushing the balls
forward, close to the front wall of the cockpit increases the amount of fuel going to the
engines and results in the highest possible speed.

The earliest written citation is from 1967, appearing in Frank Harvey’s Air War—Vietnam:

"You’re in good hands with Gen. Disosway as long as you go in on those targets balls
to the wall. Never mind the brownie points."

Best I can do.

~aj
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On an airplane, the handles controlling the throttle and the fuel mixture are often topped
with ball-shaped grips, referred to by pilots as (what else?) balls.


The cockpits I have seen have a ball on top of the flight stick (what used to be called a joystick before USAF deemed that un-PC), which the pilot uses with his right hand. The power stick (throttle), used with the left hand, and the one aj is referring to, is more like the gearshift in a Japanese car, a cylindrical grip.
Balls to the walls would mean pushing the flight stick forward to the max, which causes the aircraft to pitch down sharply, reducing altitude and increasing airspeed really really fast - like Zeros did in WW II.
I have no idea if that's the origin of the expression (joystick max forward).
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Thanks. Even if you totally made that up, it sounds good and I like it.


Frydaze1
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I found a reference that had to do with steam engines, but the aviation explanation sounds more authentic.

LWW
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I don't know, but I really thought "balls to the wall" was metaphoric for the enthusiasm involved with someone really enjoying a glory hole experience.
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I don't know, but I really thought "balls to the wall" was metaphoric for the enthusiasm involved with someone really enjoying a glory hole experience.

What has prospecting for gold got to do with balls?
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