Minnetrista Blogs

Two Pilots Discuss Ball Jars

While looking for a particular photograph of Edmund F. Ball recently, I came across one of him with Chuck Yeager. Yes, that Chuck Yeager, the man who, among many other accomplishments, was the first person to fly faster than sound. It’s a great photo of two men who shared a love of airplanes and, apparently, Ball jars (more about that later).

Mr. Yeager was the featured speaker at the Muncie Rotary Club’s 41st annual Fly-In Luncheon on June 24, 1986. The luncheon was held in a hangar at the local airport, but Rotary officers were concerned that the hangar might not be large enough to hold the anticipated crowds. Everyone who wanted to attend was accommodated and Yeager spoke to an appreciative crowd. The headline in the following day’s Muncie Star read Chuck Yeager is Spellbinder.”

During his talk, Yeager admitted that he vomited on his first flight and never really had a love of flying. What he did love, he said, was machines and the engines that ran them. His first assignment in the U.S. Army Air Force, was in airplane maintenance. During World War II, he trained as a fighter pilot and eventually shot down fourteen German airplanes. After the war, Yeager became a test pilot, and on October 14, 1947, he broke the sound barrier. Yeager retired from the U.S. Air Force as brigadier general in 1975.

Now how about those Ball jars? After a rousing welcome by the Rotarians, Yeager expressed his pleasure of being in Muncie and noted that he was especially pleased to meet Ed Ball. According to an article in the Muncie Evening Press, “At the beginning of his talk Yeager looked toward Ball, chuckled, and said it was a pleasure to meet a member of the famous Ball family. He said that as a youngster growing up on a West Virginia farm, he’d thought all kids came with lines across their noses caused by the rims of their favorite drinking cups, Ball jars.”

After the meeting, Yeager and Ball continued their discussion. Were they discussing their flying experiences or Ball jars – who knows?

Chuck Yeager, left. Edmund F. Ball, right.