AirFlow Truck Company, LLC
Building the World's Most Aerodynamic and Efficient Tractor Trailer Rigs
Press Releases & Videos

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bullettruck PRESS RELEASES

At 13.4 mpg, the future of aero trucking?

|October 03, 2012
AirFlow’s BulletTruck prototype

Aerodynamics is getting more attention these days now that diesel has risen fairly steadily for about four months to top $4. You can read a lot more about it in the November Overdrive, where columnist Kevin Rutherford will examine the aero trailer benefits for owner-operators. Also in that issue, our fuel-saving tips list will devote a big section to aero features.


Those who attended the Mid-America Trucking Show this year got a glimpse of aero’s possible future if they stopped by the AirFlow Truck Co. exhibit. The company’s website also has plenty of info on what they’ve done and are trying to do.


Most impressive is the results from a test run from Connecticut to California in June. AirFlow says its BulletTruck prototype averaged 13.4 miles per gallon. The website documents the effort and has good shots of the truck, which was originally a 2003 Kenworth T2000. It’s powered by a Cummins 15-liter ISX, with 450 hp and 1,450 ft.-lb. of torque, writes AirFlow President Bob Sliwa. Gross vehicle weight for the test run, which included actual deliveries, was 65,000 pounds and below.


“If we get the investors, we intend to build AirFlow Trucks from scratch and sell them in the (hopefully) near future,” Sliwa says. He points to the2015 concept vehicle, which will be similar to the cross-country test model.

June 2012

AutoWeek Magazine - April 16, 2012

Eastbound and green

AirFlow BulletTruck aims to improve fuel economy for long haulers

The AirFlow BulletTruck is the result of three years of debt, hard work and a bit of inspired lunacy. 

By:  on 4/16/2012

In the late 1970s, the AirFlow Truck Co.'s Bob Sliwa graduated from violently shepherding a Chevrolet Chevelle down Connecticut drag strips to the world of owner-operator trucking. Frustrated with the 4.4 mpg of his cab-over Ford CLT-9000, Sliwa applied aero-dynamic principles to the diesel behemoth. Through trial and error, he managed to wring 9.33 mpg out of his 18-wheeler.

Three decades later, the American truck fleet's average fuel economy stands at 6.5 mpg. In 2008, sick of his software job's shrinking 401(k) and the rising price of diesel, Sliwa decided to do something about it. He figured it would take about six months to engineer and build a superefficient Kenworth T2000, a tractor made semifamous by its role on 18 Wheels of Justice alongside Billy Dee Williams and G. Gordon Liddy.

What followed was a three-year odyssey that saw sponsors frustrated with the slow pace, Kenworth/ Peterbilt parent Paccar monitoring his Web site and a few platinum cards' worth of debt. The result? Well, Sliwa's not quite sure yet. On its maiden voyage, his aircraft-style glass cockpit returned wildly disparate economy numbers.

“It would say 1.4 mpg,” he said. “Then it would say 200 mpg.”

The problem remains elusive. Without hard consumption numbers, he estimated economy between 12.3

mpg and 14.3 mpg on his first 858-mile jaunt with an unladen trailer.

The AirFlow BulletTruck's Cummins engine is stock, churning out 450 hp and 1,800 lb-ft of torque. There's no dramatic program to reduce weight. But there is a custom-ducted Horton radiator that allows for the extreme degree of rake in the hood. Sliwa figures he's put in 700 hours of work ahead of the firewall alone.

He painstakingly reproduced the computer model created by industrial designer Jeremy Singley using wooden stringers and fiberglass. The pair also developed aluminum side skirts and an inflatable end cap to streamline the trailer.

The ultimate goal is to build a run of AirFlow cabs to mount on existing chassis, but for now, Sliwa's hauling loads to pay bills and looking for funding for future trucks.

“Best case,” he jokes, “is to go up to Seattle, get rear-ended by Bill Gates's chauffeur and have Bill get out

and say, ‘Hey, what're you doing?'”

Read more:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's a truck??

After four days at MATS (we get here a day early for press conferences) – our senior technical editor Paul Abelson says he normally feels like he’s seen it all
Paul Abelson interviews Bob Sliwa
“By Saturday," says Paul, “we, the collective press corps, have sat through everything from product announcements to full-blown new truck introductions."

But today, going through the show one more time, he saw something really new and different. Maybe not so new, he says, but really different from what we normally see running down the road.

Associate Editor David Tanner heard Paul start to describe the site in the North Wing and decided to tag along.

Paul was talking about the Airflow bullet truck.

The concept truck is a sight to behold with its smooth lines and almost jumbo jet appearance.

Paul and Dave proved to be the perfect pair to get the scoop on the truck parked at the Dynasys booth (the trailer was parked at Papa John’s parking lot) – and on the people who dreamed up the concept and made it reality.

Bob Sliwa talks with Paul Abelson
Back in 1985, a truck driver named Bob Sliwa built an aerodynamic truck. That’s not unusual today, but back before Kenworth introduced the T600 (1986) – trucks were the least aerodynamic vehicles on the road.

Bob ran his truck for a while, then retired to pursue other interests. But he never forgot his dream. In 2008, he began work on his current project, the AirFlow Bullet Truck, the most aerodynamic truck ever pull freight down the highways. 

Professor Paul dug into the technical details with Bob while Dave got the scoop on what makes Bob tick and so driven to bring this concept truck into reality.

We won’t spoil the surprise here… but be sure to watch for their reports in the June issue of Land Line Magazine.

View the Press Release directly at K&N's site:

K&N Engineering, Inc. News

Bob Sliwa's AirFlow Truck Company Creates World's Biggest Aerodynamic Hot Rod

Like other inquisitive young kids that grow up to reshape the world as we see it, Bob 
Sliwa also began his intimate relationship with science and physics, by disassembling his toys just to see what
makes them whiz and whirl. But, when he sat down to design and then create a brand new Class 8 tractor trailer
rig with advanced aerodynamics, extraordinary fuel savings, and a very low emissions profile, he ended up
revolutionizing over the road trucks.
The 2011 AirFlow SuperTruck, the world's biggest hot rod, is scheduled to be rolling by this spring.
The 2011 AirFlow SuperTruck, the world's biggest hot rod, is scheduled to be rolling by this spring.

Sliwa founded the AirFlow Truck Company in 1983 and his vision
to substantially lower the cost-per-mile operating cost for fleet
operators and owners of rigs, is destined to become reality when
he unveils his first working prototype of AirFlow's second-
generation design. Sliwa recently agreed to talk with us about
what he calls the world's biggest hot rod.

Having seen the concept drawings of the truck, we have to say
that in comparison, other rigs look like dinosaurs. How and
when did this idea come about, was it swirling around in your
head first as you drove trucks yourself?

"Thanks for the compliment. Actually you got it just right. The idea started swirling around in my head when I first
became an owner-operator in 1980. Soon after buying my first cabover tractor 18 wheeler, I then realized how
poor the fuel mileage of existing equipment was. So right then, I decided to improve the efficiency and the fuel
mileage, using my prior drag racing experience."
Shown here on top of the Cummins ISX is the new air induction system, and the new Heavy Duty Air Filter assembly from K&N Filters.
Shown here on top of the Cummins ISX is the new air induction system, and the new Heavy Duty Air Filter assembly from K&N Filters.

At first glance your truck resembles a European/Asian Bullet
train somewhat, how did you come up with the "airflow"
design and how much wind-tunnel testing was done, and what
sort of measurable drag and fuel reductions do your results

"The current AirFlow 2011 SuperTruck design is actually a
morphing of a Kenworth T2000 truck, into a more aerodynamic
design, as opposed to starting with a "clean sheet" design. So
many design compromises had to be made. It would have taken
many more years, and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars
more, to do a clean-sheet prototype."

"We had great help with the SuperTruck design from our CAD
and CFD designer, Jeremy Singley, of Jeremy Singley Industrial Design. The AirFlow rig has never been out on
the road yet, so we have not done any actual wind-tunnel testing. All of our aerodynamic testing has been done
via computer with software provided by one of our Partners, SolidWorks. SolidWorks provided the Computational
Fluid Dynamics (CFD) FloWorks software that we use to tweak the aerodynamics. The CFD software is
analogous to a virtual wind tunnel. Our FloWorks CFD software says we have 326 lb ft of drag, which is a 45%
drag reduction over a stock Kenworth T2000 pulling a stock trailer. This translates to an approximate 25% fuel

In general terms, just how much research has gone into the overall concept, and have you found that it
continues to evolve as you get further into the development?

"The research has been ongoing and evolving to some extent for over 25 years now. I always knew I wanted to
build what is called a 'conventional' tractor, as opposed to a 'cabover' tractor. The basic difference is that a
conventional tractor has the engine in front of the driver's compartment, and in a cabover, the drivers
compartment sits over the engine. We have only ramped up research and development in the last two years
with this new project and the prototype. Yes, the design and the details do evolve daily. When we add one new
piece it sometimes affects many other pieces of the puzzle. Oops! I mean the prototype."

How many people are currently working on the project with you?

On a day-by-day basis, it is usually just myself, as a one-man project. My best friend helps out with the actual
build on some Saturdays. And our CAD/CFD designer works on CAD details, or aerodynamic tweaks, on contract
assignments for us. But, I estimate that I have done 98% of the work of the AirFlow Truck project myself. From
contacting sponsors, administering the web site, buying parts, building custom parts, and the actual prototype
truck build itself. Six days a week for the past two years.

Are you aware of any other truck design projects along the same lines as yours?

"Not to this extent, at least, none that I am aware of. Many OEM's are trying to get better fuel mileage and lower
emissions through various, and what I consider questionable, techniques. But basically, I feel that the large truck
OEM's are at least 30 or 40 years behind the times with their designs, even though they all check out the AirFlow
Truck web site on a regular basis. Volvo Truck North America has been to the AirFlow Truck web site over 100
times in the past two days alone."

Tell us a bit about the engine design and how did you decide to go with the K&N intake?

"Other than the redesigned cooling system and drive belt system, and the custom implementation of the new
K&N Heavy Duty Washable Air Filter, the engine is basically a stock Cummins ISX 450 horsepower diesel engine."

"We have done some modifications to the ISX to reduce parasitic horsepower losses. These include removing
the belt-driven A/C compressor and installing an all-electric A/C compressor, removing the 40# cooling fan hub,
and adding 45 quarts of 5W40 synthetic motor oil."

"Being a former amateur drag racer, I have been familiar with K&N Filters, and their sterling reputation for quality
products, for over 40 years. So when K&N recently introduced their new K&N Heavy Duty Washable Air Filter,
and when K&N told me it has lower restriction than the OEM filter, I knew we had to have one for the project."

Are you finding a lot of support for your concept from the trucking industry and other truckers?

"We have received overwhelming support from truck component and equipment manufacturers, especially the
ones who have a newer version of technology than previous versions of the same component."

We have over 20 corporate partners, and without their magnanimous support, we could not have even begun a
project of this scope and magnitude. Again, the prototype has never been out on the road. But I would imagine
that the old-school truckers will not appreciate the design and would rather actually drive, or own a square truck.
The businessman truckers, the ones who are in it to make money and not just interested in buying shiny chrome
do-dad add-ons, will appreciate the design. They will also appreciate how much fuel and money it saves."

Ideally, how would you see this project playing out, meaning would you like to go into full-scale production?
Also, have you given any thought to developing particular components of your truck to increase the efficiency
of existing rigs, such as creating bolt-on airflow body parts or engine components?

Unless we are able to obtain adequate funding, this will be the only version of the AirFlow tractor. You hit the nail
on the head when you said 'developing particular components of your truck to increase the efficiency of existing
rigs, such as creating bolt-on airflow body parts or engine components.' That is exactly what we have in mind.
Specifically, trailer skirts, which have now been required by CARB. Although just in case funding is available, we
have already designed a 2015 next-generation of the AirFlow rig, and we actually have a 29" long plastic model
of it."

Find K&N products for your vehicle using the  K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a
K&N dealer in your part of the world.

Februrary 12, 2010 
                                         Sirius XM Road Dog Channel
Interview  with Reed Black

January 27, 2010
Sirius/XM Satellite Radio Interview with Reed Black on the Road Dog Channel.
2 out of 3 owner-operators who replied said they would buy an AirFlow rig.
The other one probably drives a SQUARE truck.


                                      AirFlow Truck Company, LLC
                                        Newington, Connecticut

                                 State of Connecticut License # 000327240001 - 3894