Michael Donovan Was Here…

Cool Mike: I'll Make Your Life Smack Goody-Style!

Pushing the Envelope

leave a comment »

In aviation and aeronautics the term ‘flight envelope’ had been in use since WWII, as here from the Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society, 1944:

“The best known of the envelope cases is the ‘flight envelope’, which is in general use in this country and in the United States… The ‘flight envelope’ covers all probable conditions of symmetrical maneuvering flight.”

That envelope is the description of the upper and lower limits of the various factors that it is safe to fly at, i.e. speed, engine power, manoeuvrability, wind speed, altitude etc. By ‘pushing the envelope’, i.e. testing those limits, test pilots were able to determine just how far it was safe to go. By 1978 the phrase was in use in print. In July that year, Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine had:

“The aircraft’s altitude envelope must be expanded to permit a ferry flight across the nation. NASA pilots were to push the envelope to 10,000 ft.”

reference http://www.phrases.org.uk

Advertisements

Written by Michael Donovan

23/08/2009 at 9:34 am

Posted in Culture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: