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NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Aerodynamic Trucks Make Me Smile

7 Jun 2012, 17:05 UTC
Aerodynamic Trucks Make Me Smile
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By David McBride Director, NASA DrydenFlight Research Center Over the last severalmonths, I have read many news stories and web accounts about rising and falling fuel pricesand how some companies are rediscovering efficiencies by making trucks more aerodynamically efficient. These makeme smile as it reminds me of the early aerodynamic truck studies conductedalmost 40 years […]

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By David McBride
Director, NASA DrydenFlight Research Center
Over the last severalmonths, I have read many news stories and web accounts about rising and falling fuel pricesand how some companies are rediscovering efficiencies by making trucks more aerodynamically efficient. These makeme smile as it reminds me of the early aerodynamic truck studies conductedalmost 40 years ago at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards AirForce Base. Fuel efficiency in long haul trucks was never much of an issueuntil the first peacetime gas crisis, in the early 1970s. In 1973 anaeronautical engineer at NASA Dryden began musing over ways to cut theaerodynamic drag of over-the-road trucks. He led a small team of researcherswhose results had an extraordinary, if little recognized, impact.
The center’s firstexperiment involved a passenger van modified into a driving laboratory. Weattached an aluminum ...

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