OttoPylit
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First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:16 am

This gentleman lived quite a life. Rest in peace, Captain Ball.


A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 11 St. Luke's Lane, San Antonio, Texas, for Capt. Thomas Prioleau "Pre" Ball, who died Feb. 23. The record-setting Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame pilot and former Delta vice president-Operations was 99. Capt. Ball will be buried with his wife Teresa in College Park, Ga.

Capt. Ball developed the Delta flying safety program that became the model for other airlines. He set seven transcontinental speed records, four of which have never been broken. He pioneered the Category II and Cat III instrument landing systems used first by Delta at what is now Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He became vice president of Operations and later retired from Delta in 1971. He was so loved and respected by his pilots that they presented him a new BMW sports car at his retirement.

"Pre Ball was part of the airline business long before it was an industry and part of Delta from the days when, as he once recalled, he could land a plane in Monroe to see the company's entire staff – all five of them – standing by the fence," said Jerry Grinstein, chief executive officer. "Pre was part of a long, unbroken chain of Delta people who have – and will again – see this company safely through hard times to a stronger, better future. He will be sorely missed by us all."

Capt. Ball grew up and learned to fly in Jacksonville, Fla., where, in 1928, he soloed in a WWI Jenny biplane. He served as the Charleston, S.C., airport manager, flight instructor/charter pilot and owner of Hawthorne Flying Service, until being hired as one of the first Delta pilots in July of 1935. During WWII he rose from second lieutenant to colonel in the Army Air Corps in less than three years and served on the Air Staff as division chief in the Office of Flying Safety. Following the war, he returned to Delta where he flew as a captain and became the chief pilot.

"Captain "Pre" Ball set the standard for all of us at Delta to follow," said Gary Beck, senior vice president-Flight Ops and chief pilot. "His pioneering spirit led to one of the industry's earliest flight safety programs and established Delta as the first to implement special category instrument approach for landings during inclement weather in Atlanta - achievements we benefit from still today. Without question, Pre's achievements and legacy will live on."

Capt. Ball is survived by two sons, Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Thomas Prioleau "Pre" Ball Jr. of San Antonio, Texas, and Dr. Espy Daniel Ball of Tampa, Florida; a nephew Ken Daniel of Washington, D.C.; and six grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be sent to the Thomas P. "Pre" Ball and Teresa Ball Memorial Fund of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 8427, Warner Robins GA 31095, or to a charity of choice. You are invited to sign the guestbook at www.porterloring.com.




OttoPylit
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
luv2fly
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RE: First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:33 pm

Otto thanks for posting this, it serves to remind all of us about the family that is Delta Airlines.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
767-332ER
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RE: First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:34 pm

Otto, on a side note...what do you do for Delta? Also, weren't you "from Denmark?"
Twinjets...if one fails, work the other one twice as hard!!!
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:44 pm

A great man. I was fortunate enough to spend an hour or so with he and Charles Dolson discussing the good 'ole days here at ATL. It was a small window in time I will never forget. I was greatly amused by the recollections of the DC-7 era and wonderful CV-880 stories.

He had a good run. May he rest in peace.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
OttoPylit
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RE: First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:32 pm

Quoting 767-332ER (Reply 2):
Otto, on a side note...what do you do for Delta? Also, weren't you "from Denmark?"

What, I cant be Denmarkian?  rotfl  LOL Nah, I switched to Denmark to show solidarity for Denmark after the whole Arab world got their panties in a bunch. It was suggested in the nonav forum at one point and seemed a good idea. Now that it seems much has calmed down, I switched back.

As far as what I do for Delta? Let's just say I've done a lot. I prefer not to reveal my exact position with Delta right now, but I've done quite a bit in a few different cities. Started as a gate agent and worked my way right up. Don't want to reveal my position as Mother Delta does monitor the site. But I did start my career as a gate agent in JAX, where Mr. Ball apparently learned to fly.

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 3):
A great man. I was fortunate enough to spend an hour or so with he and Charles Dolson discussing the good 'ole days here at ATL. It was a small window in time I will never forget. I was greatly amused by the recollections of the DC-7 era and wonderful CV-880 stories.

Lucky wastard. LOL That would have certainly been a conversation that you could enjoy just sitting in and listening to, without having to say a word.

I bet we all would like to see the good ole days, when you could fly into an airport and see the entire company out there watching you.  weeping 


 tombstone 


OttoPylit
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
positiverate
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RE: First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:19 am

Quoting OttoPylit (Reply 4):
Mother Delta does monitor the site

Do they really? Nothing else to do over there?
 
OttoPylit
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RE: First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:25 pm

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 5):
Do they really? Nothing else to do over there?

Yea, so I've heard. If I heard it right, a DL employee (mistakenly, I guess) gave out some financial numbers that weren't really wanted to be seen outside of DL and was spoken to about it later on back in Deltaland. I think he had his whole name on the profile, someone saw it and what they posted, and was called on the carpet for it.

Just enough of a reason for me not to give out my name, any numbers that seem somewhat important, or my exact job at any given time.



OttoPylit
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
OttoPylit
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RE: First Record Setting Delta Pilot "Pre" Ball Death

Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:56 am

A good story update from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:



Thomas Prioleau "Pre" Ball was a barnstorming aerobatic pilot who looked every inch the part when he went to work for Delta Air Lines in 1934.

He was the very definition of a pilot in those glamorous early days, said Whit Hawkins of Marco Island, Fla., who retired as Delta's president in 1993.


"He was small of stature and was always immaculately dressed. He wore his uniform beautifully. He had a little mustache. You could just see him with a silk scarf, leather helmet and goggles," Mr. Hawkins said.

Mr. Ball moved from Delta's station manager in Charleston, S.C., to the airline's chief pilot, to vice president of flight operations when he retired in 1971. He was so highly respected at Delta that when he retired, his colleagues presented him with a new BMW sports car, Mr. Hawkins said.

As Delta's chief pilot, he could fly pretty much whatever he wanted to whenever he wanted to, he said. Mr. Ball delivered Delta's first commercial jetliner to Georgia, a Douglas DC-8 in 1958.

Upon being inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in April 2005, when he was 98, Mr. Ball attended the ceremony and delivered an acceptance speech.

The memorial service for Mr. Ball, 99, formerly of College Park, is 11 a.m. today at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in San Antonio. He died Feb. 23 at his San Antonio residence, where he had moved in 1995. The body was cremated. Porter Loring Mortuary in San Antonio is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Ball developed model safety programs for Delta and set speed records, some of which have never been broken.

In setting the transcontinental speed record — 31 minutes and 54 seconds — for the maiden flight of Delta's Convair 880 in 1960, all Delta was listening to his cockpit transmissions, and it was thrilling, Mr. Hawkins said.

Comparing those days to pilots today, Mr. Ball said in a 1991 interview, "I think we had a lot more fun than they do, but I think we worked a hell of a lot harder."

Survivors include two sons, Thomas Prioleau "Pre" Ball Jr. of San Antonio and Espy Daniel Ball of Tampa; six grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.




OttoPylit
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.

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