Coffin corner, it’s a thing

Okay, one last coffin corner joke! If I remember correctly, we already discussed what the coffin corner is, and that they don’t use the term correctly in the new Top Gun movie. But just in case you’re not familiar with the term, HERE’s a link to the Wikipedia article. I’m probably butchering the explanation, but the short version is: The higher you fly, the lower the air density. Lower air density means 1) a higher stall speed (the speed you need to be above for the airplane not to drop out of the sky) and 2) a lower Mach number (the “sound barrier” where aerodynamics change and a non-supersonic aircraft would also fall out of the sky). If you fly high enough, those speeds you can’t go under or over get closer and the “coffin corner” is where those two “lines” intersect.

The stuff you learn as a comic artist … 🙂


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4 comments on “Coffin corner, it’s a thing
  1. Keith says:

    Considering I’ve seen a motorcycle high side at 1mph. I can believe that he stalled on the ground. That’s uh. That’s quite the accomplishment.

  2. Niels says:

    Watching the movie I thought it might be a Navy way of saying that they are about to perform something dangerous. Like something is “coffin corner” dangerous?

  3. Karel A.J. ADAMS says:

    What a blessing to have never flown anything faster than a hundred knots or so, and altitude-limited by lack of pressurization.
    Simplicity is bliss – or how was that?

    Not that I never got the coffin in sight, in my flying “career” – even though limited both in performance and in number of hours.

  4. Joshua says:

    Coffin corner is really overblown. I went through airline training with teachers who had no idea what it is. It is simply the fact that at high altitude your stall speed and the speed of sound converge so a non-supersonic aircraft will have less margin between a low speed stall and a mach buffet. No real danger to an aircraft there.

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