Experiments were conducted using tufts and PIV to determine the conditions for which a swirled gas jet issuing from a sharp-edge nozzle, in flush with a base plate, would form a Coanda jet. The flow field was also simulated. The inception of the Coanda jet was observed to be associated with the formation of a recirculation bubble at the nozzle exit. A threshold value of swirl number, which increased monotonically with Reynolds number, was required for the formation of the Coanda jet. The Coanda jet was associated with hysteresis. The flow features and transition from a diverging jet to a Coanda jet are discussed. © 2009 Elsevier Inc.