During the summer of 2021, Airstream worked with experts at the Auto Research Center in Indianapolis, Indiana on a project aimed at both confirming the current aerodynamics of a 28-foot Airstream travel trailer, as well as giving our product development team on opportunity to explore ways of decreasing drag. Using computer modeling and scale models in a state-of-the-art wind tunnel, the Airstream team ran the model through its paces in a series of illuminating tests.
Better fuel-efficiency, more freedom, and a commitment to preserving the natural world we cherish: Airstream aerodynamics at work.
In the 1930s, Airstream founder Wally Byam began designing travel trailers that would flow down the highway "like a stream of air." Nearly a century later, aerodynamic designs are part of Airstream's DNA, and recent wind tunnel testing has yielded valuable data that will guide product development for years to come.
The first phase of the project utilized computer modeling while the second phase involved wind tunnel testing to understand the current aerodynamic performance of a 28-foot Airstream travel trailer. Those tests confirmed what the computer modeling predicted: That a 28-foot Airstream travel trailer is 25 percent more aerodynamic than a 35-foot trailer from a leading brand.
After confirming the current aerodynamic profile, the Airstream engineering team began a series of test aimed how understanding the potential for future design development. By repositioning or relocating exterior rooftop features as well as employing various deflectors to help guide air around the travel trailer, the team was able to gain valuable knowledge that will inform product development for years.