"balls to the wall"

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Sun Feb 12 12:35:25 UTC 2006

On Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 01:41:03AM -0500, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
> >On Celestial Wings / Edgar D. Whitcomb.  Air University Press, Maxwell AFB
> >Alabama, 1995 (a biographical narrative, set during WWII)
> >p. 93
> >"Down, down, down it went through 2,000 feet, 1,000 feet, and leveled off
> >to roar over the White House with throttles to the wall at 500 feet. "
> And likewise:

Well, as long as we're doing this, here are some (modern)
examples of _balls to the wall_ in military-aviation
contexts, referring to top speed, courtesy of Google Books:

2001 E. M. Bergerud _Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South
Pacific_ [ref. to WWII] 458 If, on the other hand, you were on
the deck and running for home, balls to the wall on power...

2003 C. W. Dryden _A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman_
[ref.  to WWII] 132 So, flipping my gun and gunsight switches
ON while jamming the throttle full forward, "balls to the
wall", with hard right rudder, right aileron and stick...

[This book also has a glossary including the entry "balls
out, or balls to the wall," but Google won't let me see it]

2003 R. K. Wilcox _Black Aces High_ 204 They were over water.
He took his Tomcat down to 6000 feet. "We're just balls to the
wall trying to go supersonic--if we can get it."

2004 B. Waugh & T. Keown _Hunting the Jackal_ 54 Mustachio
flew balls to the wall, first west, and then south toward the
target area.

There are various others.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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