Coffin Corner

There’s a nasty little portion of the flight envelope for a high-flying jet airplane known as the coffin corner, where the indicated air speed is low due to the thin air but the Mach number simultaneously high. Any slower and the plane stalls, any faster and airflow exceeds the speed of sound, with the resulting shock wave causing a “Mach tuck,” pointing the nose down abruptly. Bad stuff happens fast at th…

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