phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

"push the envelope"

Posted by Arthur Smith on December 10, 1999

In Reply to: "Push the envelope" posted by V-MAN on December 10, 1999

: I will accept the premise that "push the envelope" originated with airline pilots, but I would like to know in exactly what context: the actual practical mechanics of flying as in the use of the controls relative to a certain aspect of aircraft performance, the theory of flight as in aerodynamics or the efficiency with which the aircraft performs relative to outside forces, or some other practical explanation?

I believe that it refers to the action, when airborne, of flying the aircraft near to, or beyond, the design parameters, e.g., pulling more 'g' (and getting away with it) than the aircraft was designed to withstand or flying close to, or slower than, the design stall speed. In real life, no airline would countenance it's aircraft being operated anywhere near design limits as, apart from the inherent danger of loosing control, the aircraft will be stressed and the 'life' of vital components shortened.