Navajo Kyril Calsoyas fulfilled a pressing desire to improve the aerodynamics of big trucks, when he recently contributed to part of the patented design in TrailerTails, an extension on the back of semitrailers that saves on fuel, reported The Arizona Republic.
Since an idea struck him in 1975 while driving San Francisco's freeways, Calsoyas has wanted to change the high resistance tractor-trailers faced with their boxy rigs.
"It just struck me. It was so plain to see that at high speed, by moving a box through the air, you were getting an enormous drag," Calsoyas told The Arizona Republic. "The fronts were not sculptured. They were just blunt boxes. Both the front and rear seemed inefficient. And that's where I eventually decided that somehow we have to change this."
His longtime desire to reduce the truck's strong drag culminated in a product built by ATDynamics of South San Francisco. TrailerTails cuts down on at least 6 percent of fuel, and can save as much as 12 percent when combined with other aerodynamic improvements.
Calsoyas, who runs a charter high school on the Navajo reservation, built a patented piece of the tail with the help of David Calley, a founder of Southwest Windpower, a company that makes wind turbines.
"Here's this guy from the remote Navajo Nation who directs schools proposing this thing, and they went along with it and they spent a lot of money and time making it happen," Calley said.