The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook

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A specification of The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook;

Two book reviews;

Cataloging information (for library classification);

The Table of Contents;

Abstracts of all chapters and appendix articles;

Price and ordering information. How to Order  


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The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook, 15th Edition (2014) by Henry C. Landa,  FICOA, 355 pp., 374 illustrations, 29 cm./ 11.5 in., soft cover. The standard work in the field; a reference and self-teaching text clearly and concisely written; includes a Practical Problems Workbook with Answers and Solutions.   Exceptionally favorable BOOK REVIEW prepared by the Engineering Societies Library for Automotive Engineering Magazine (S.A.E.), below ;  Soft cover version: list $48.95 and postpaid in U.S.  Hardcover Library binding: $71.90 list and postpaid in the U.S.





 "The sections cover Theory; Practice and engineering applications, General and miscellaneous topics; and Economics. The Handbook includes examples of calculations and applications so that the non-engineer and non-mathematician can apply the theory with reasonable assurance of accuracy and success. The book is designed for use as a classroom text and/or for self-study. Therefore, it is somewhat more elaborate and explanatory than the typical handbook or textbook. The intent is to draw together recent theory, a practical approach to applications and compilation of useful technical data."             

         -  BOOK REVIEW prepared by the staff of the COMBINED ENGINEERING SOCIETIES LIBRARY (for the various publications of the engineering societies that jointly sponsor the library.); - as carried in AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING MAGAZINE (the official publication of the Society of Automotive Engineers ... the S.A.E.)

Note: The earlier versions of the AAHB were used by various automobile manufacturers as data sources. The Ford Motor Company used the book in the late 1970's as the formal classroom text to teach auto aerodynamics to designers and engineers over a span of three years. Each class had  30 (+) students and was offered thrice to Ford employees in the design area. Ford and its employees purchased over 100 books during that time (class) period.

" ... the tenth edition of The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook is the latest updated version of a highly technical and practical reference manual written especially for engineers and scientists, or advanced college and graduate studies students. suitable for use as a curriculum guide or self-teaching text, The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook distinguishes itself from others addressing the complex engineering nuances of air and fluid flow, drag, force, shapes, lift, stability, and airflow about wheels and cylinders by offering hard data in addition to mathematical derivations and abstract theory.

  Numerous black-and-white diagrams illustrate examples with data "plugged in" to precisely explicate physical processes step by step. Divided into sections discussing theory, practice and engineering applications, miscellany, downforce, economics (in particular the problem of keeping costs down), The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook is a "must-have" for experts and aspiring experts in the field striving to keep their knowledge up-to-data and who need immediate access to a thorough and detailed reference to a complex and technical subject."

  -  BOOK REVIEW prepared by the MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW, James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief


Table of Contents

Introduction (I 1-3):    

How to use this handbook;    

Why streamline?- a justification;      

Random Remarks


Theory (T 1-10):

Air - its characteristics;


Fluid flow;

Drag: the resistance to motion & Friction;



Shapes, Drag Formula, Drag Coefficients, and Drag Calculations



Spheres, Cylinders and Wheels;   


Practice and Engineering Applications ( P 1-13):

Highway Trucks;

Analysis Techniques - General;

Models, Modeling - Physical & Mathematical;

Experimental Techniques;

Empirical Techniques;

Deceleration via coast-down on level grade - a road test technique to determine the drag coefficient - Cn;


Parameters and Measurement;

Design Generalities & Detail;

Critiquing a Design; Analysis by Eye

Power Measurement & Power Required at a Constant Velocity

Aerodynamics isn't Everything - Nor is Weight relative to MPG

The Bicycle Conundrum


General and Miscellaneous Topics (G 1-6):


Color and Safety;

Glossary of Symbols;

Glossary of Terms;

Sound Generation and Efficiency;

Highway and Landscaping Aerodynamics


NEW!   Downforce (D 1 - 11):

Introduction to Downforce;

Statics: the Balance of Forces in a Constant State;

Moments and Torque;

Center of Gravity;

Center of Pressure;

Wings & Airfoils;

Tuning (the aerodynamic devices);

Body Shape as related to Downforce;

Application and Examples of Downforce and Weight Calculations;

Lofting an Airfoil


Economics (E 1-8):

a brief introduction to basic concepts;

Economic Alternatives;

Economic Measurement;

Economic Life;

Long Range Machine Concept;

Total Economic Cost;

Fuel Consumption / Gas Mileage;

Simple Economic Analysis - Procedure and Example





U.S. Standard Atmosphere (English Units) including Mass Density;

Acceleration of Gravity;

Velocity Conversion: MPH to fps to Km/hr;

Rolling Resistance of Various Surfaces;

d, the equivalent diameter of rectangular (duct or body) sections;

Slenderness Ratio or Fineness Ratio;

Acceleration Conversion;

Power Requirements vs. Velocity (MPH);

Distance, Velocity, Acceleration, Time and Force;

Power Requirements, an anecdote in the calculation of;

Rolling Resistance of Vehicles;

Road and Track Racing Cars; CART, Indy, & Formula One: Typical Dimensional Analysis;

The Nature of the Scientific Method;

Experiment / Research Report Format;

Center of Pressure on a Flat Plate; on an airfoil; Installation / Mounting

Total Power Requirements; an A. O. S. program

Cooling Drag: a Commentary

Before and After on the Southern Railway (Streamlining the steam locomotive)

Fluffy Snow: a Rare Opportunity to Observe Airflow


Workbook (Problems),     Workbook Answers,      Workbook Solutions









I 1: How to use this handbook: An introduction to the various types of technical books e.g. popularizations, textbooks, and project & experiment types; followed by explaining what a handbook is and how it is used. The various sections of the book ("T, P & E, G & M, D, and E", etc.) are explained along with improving a person's base of knowledge.


I 2: Why streamline?- a justification: The reasons for bothering with streamlining, for and against, are outlined and discussed and, at length.


I 3: Random Remarks: A catch-all chapter, worth glancing through, which touches on The Scientific Method (covered in depth in the appendix), the differences and similarities between automotive and aircraft aerodynamics, former and present practices by major auto manufacturers (it's a mixed bag ... aerodynamics are attended to mainly "in the breach"), and addressing an important contribution by the late Vance Packard in his The Waste Makers.

  We are now entering a new era where efficiency is far more important to the average person than heretofore and the application of aerodynamics impacts the ordinary citizen greatly.





T 1: Air - its characteristics: Since air is the fluid under study, it is necessary to understand it. This chapter addresses what affects moving air around a vehicle e.g. the concept of displacement; critical dimensions of air; mass and acceleration (of air); compressibility; viscosity, turbulence*; and  Reynolds Numbers.        *Laminar flow is treated elsewhere.


T 2: Vectors: Vectors are used to portray forces and illustrate movement. A vector is, of course, a description of a force with dimensions of magnitude (size) and orientation (where it's going) as well as its location. Also covered are free body diagrams, moments, and conventions (ways of describing actions that are widely used and accepted).


T 3: Fluid flow: Fluid flow manifests itself in drag and lift as results. The detail of how fluid flows around (over, under, sides) is important to understand since automotive vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, trains) are not simple shapes. General principles of fluid flow behavior will lead to reasonable prediction of local detailed flow. A simple introduction to drag touches on from drag and skin-friction [more complex and important other types of drag are reserved for chapter T 4] along with the boundary layer. Laminar flow is introduced and compared with turbulent flow and separation of flow. Other topics addressed are: causes of separation of flow; a related note on the laminar flow wing; surface roughness; "High Reynolds Numbers"; discontinuities; trailing edge wakes.


T 4: Drag: the resistance to motion & Friction: An introduction to the terminology of the various types of coefficients; form or pressure drag; induced drag; wave drag; parasite drag; cooling drag; interference drag; wheel drag. The various frictions are detailed e.g. sliding, rolling, and viscous.


T 5: Force: When motion of a vehicle occurs, there are forces that resist that motion which are, mainly, aerodynamic drag and rolling friction. Topics covered are: wind effect (relative airflow); rolling resistance as the sum of internal and external forces; acceleration; and gravity.


T 6: Power: Topics: work and the units of work; total power required; horsepower and equivalents; how much power is required; a computer program in A.O.S. [the common programming language of hand-held electronic calculators].


T 7: Shapes, Drag Formula, Drag Coefficients, and Drag Calculations: How the basic shapes are generated (by revolving a geometric figure around a centerline); effective area (generally, the frontal area); the general drag formula; the complete aerodynamic drag formula; example calculations; some data on common vehicle types (an extensive amount of information) e.g. motorcycles, go-karts, racing cars, streamlined record-attempt vehicles, railroad locomotives, trucks, buses, automobiles, light rail cars. Five pages of basic shapes with the coefficients of drag; and, finally, a detailed explanation of the complete aerodynamic drag formula along with a calculation example.


T 8: Lift: Lift is addressed relative to body lift, negative lift devices, and incidental devices. Conventions and semantics; lift on an airplane wind (it induces drag by its very nature); vector analysis, angle of attack (of an airfoil); resolving the lift resultant into vertical lift and horizontal drag; calculating lift and the lift formula; vortex and vortices; negative lift (down force ... also address in section "D" for Downforce in eleven (11) chapters); the wedge; semi-trailer truck baffles; downforce wings of various types; body lift; undesirable effects of body lift; bobbing and cropping (of tail and trailing parts); device ("add-ons"); downforce wings; positive lift devices; downwash or anti-eddying turbulence control devices; airfoil chart (example) with related drag and lift calculations.


T 9: Stability: A fast-moving vehicle is subject to forces generated by it and external forces (weather & wind). How control is safely maintained depends on ten factors, mainly (which are addressed).


T 10: Spheres, Cylinders and Wheels: The sphere is the place to start in fluid flow relative to automotive aerodynamics. From that, one goes to modifications up to and including the wheel. Wheels are a problem and are invariably exposed and (obviously) under rotation. A terrific amount of turbulence (and drag) are kicked up by rotating and moving wheels and various techniques are used to mitigate the drag caused.



Practice and Engineering Applications


P 1: Highway Trucks: Shape and aerodynamic characteristics; typical airflow around a semi-trailer; performance improvement; typical installations (of drag-reducing add-ons); interface compatibility; exposed wheels.


P 2: Analysis Techniques - General: Various methods of analysis are addressed with an example of an automobile calculation 


P 3: Theoretical Technique and Model Making or Models, Modeling: Physical & Mathematical: An extensive discussion of similitude or the similarity of shapes of varying size e.g. full-size on down to very small representations or models; a catalog of models (various types); full discussion of the various types of models; similitude (and the Reynolds Number); Tables of Kinematic Viscosity for Air and for Water


P 4: Experimental Techniques: Wind tunnels and road testing are discussed, explained and compared; various types of wind tunnels are cited; the General Motors wind tunnel is illustrated over several pages.


P 5: Empirical Techniques: Empirical methods of research are based on careful and comprehensive records over some considerable time (and experience). They are a substitute or supplement to experimental methods and offer a close correlation with actual service conditions. And, while empirical methods take more time, they have the advantage of proving, in a practical and economical sense, an improvement e.g. a air deflector installed on a truck or trailer.


P 6: Deceleration via coast-down on level grade - a road test technique to determine the drag coefficient - Cn: An explanation of determining the aerodynamic drag by allowing a vehicle to coast (down) to a stop on a level roadway. Included are two computer programs to calculate the drag: A.O.S. (Algebraic Operating System, software found in hand-held programmable electronic calculators) and B.A.S.I.C. (the simplest of software that can be used in engineering calculations and found in the guts of most PC's). [Directions (a.k.a. "User Instruction") on how to run the programs are included.]


P 7: Estimation: Estimating aerodynamic factors is based upon base-line knowledge of basic shapes, fluid flow, and magnitudes of the factors. This chapter organizes the bases of a good estimate. 


P 8: Parameters and Measurement


P 9: Design Generalities


P 10: Critiquing a Design; Analysis by Eye



General and Miscellaneous Topics


Color and Safety;

Glossary of Symbols;

Glossary of Terms;

Sound Generation and Efficiency

Highway and Landscaping Aerodynamics


D 1: Introduction to Downforce An explanation of the following ten chapters which are devoted to racing machines.


D 2: Statics: the Balance of Forces in a Constant State Statics is the branch of Mechanics, is a discipline taught in engineering colleges and physics departments. Statics deals with forces in equilibrium; i.e., in balance. A stationary object or a moving object (like an automobile) that is not under acceleration. Forces that hold a car on the road include its weight and any aerodynamic forces.

In racing and other situations there are the potentially upward or lifting forces common to aircraft which are wholly undesirable.

This chapter explains the forces and their effect upon an automobile, especially a racing car. (Profusely illustrated; 14 force diagrams)


D 3: Moments and Torque Definitions and conventions (how forces are depicted). The Law of Moments is defined and explained.

The application of aerodynamic forces using wings, spoilers, Venturi tunnels, etc. are shown acting upon various parts of the vehicle. These forces generate different downforce components.


D 4: Center of Gravity A large part of this chapter is devoted to the determination of the location of the center of gravity of the vehicle; left-to-right, front-to-back, and bottom-to-top location.

Two methods are discussed in detail on how to find the location of the c.g. (center of gravity): (1) The Analytical Method and (2) The Practical Method. Both methods are important since the first is basic to the design and the second determines the accuracy of the first calculation. The practical method involves weighing the car in various positions and uses the Law of Moments (see chapter D 3: Moments and Torque).


D 5: Center of Pressure Objects moving through a fluid (like air) generate a pressure opposing motion. Similar to the center of gravity (where the resultant of all mass acts), the location of the center of pressure is important. Its importance is based on the fact that the body of the vehicle and any accessories (wings, spoilers, etc.) will generate drag which acts in concert. The location of the center of pressure in a wing, for example, allows the designer to position the wing to get the maximum desired effect of the lift and drag created.

Topics covered include: method of determining the c.p. (center of pressure); typical center of pressure on a racing car body; determining the center of pressure; lift, drag, and the resultant at the center of pressure; unusual wing shapes; instability of a vehicle: defined;


D 6: Wings & Airfoils Topics covered from published tables are: finding the coefficient of lift & drag, the lift-to-drag ratio; location of the center of pressure; shape of airfoils based on station and chord height; angle of attack; using an airfoil chart; the proprietary airfoil (as contrasted with airfoils in the public domain which have published tables and charts); the upside-down wing; flaps (of several types); "Why use flaps on an airplane?"; "Why use flaps on a racing car?" [Lift!]; angle of attack and center of pressure; some airfoil charts and tables.


D 7: Balance of Forces and Equations A suggested procedure to calculate the various forces with a calculation example; accounting for moments.


D 8: Tuning (the aerodynamic devices) No engineering design will be perfect right off the drawing board; adjustments and modifications will be required ... that means "tuning".

Actually driving the race car will reveal whether the design and the various accessories are sufficient in size, shape, and location. The balance of tractive forces holding the car to the tack, particularly and mainly on curves, will have to be adjusted ("tuned") to meet the needs of the driver.

Inertial and centrifugal forces are also treated.


D 9: Body Shape as related to Downforce Various devices .e.g., the air dam, Venturi tunnel are covered with a calculation.


D 10: Application and Examples of Downforce and Weight Calculations Eight pages of calculations (with explanations, formulae, and no calculation steps skipped!)


D 11: Lofting an Airfoil "Lofting and airfoil" means to lay it out based on tables. Small airfoils (as contrasted to airplane wings) require exact measurement and fabrication and require the skills of a machinist or tool-and-die maker. The steps in lofting are laid out along with an example.




a brief introduction to basic concepts;

Economic Alternatives;

Economic Measurement;

Economic Life;

Long Range Machine Concept;

Total Economic Cost;

Fuel Consumption / Gas Mileage;

Simple Economic Analysis - Procedure and Example






Workbook (Problems),     Workbook Answers,      Workbook Solutions







[Cataloging data]  


The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook including a Practical Problems Workbook with Answers and Solutions, 14th Edition, 2013  / Henry C. Landa and Douglas Cox Landa;

 351 pages; 143,600 +/- words; 355 illustrations; including a 9 page index of 3,912 words, 28 cm. (8.5" wide x 11" high) [actual text, including index; front pieces and table of contents are additional]

The standard reference handbook and self-teaching text using a practical engineering approach to basic aerodynamics to all types of land vehicles. Covers the theoretical bases of aerodynamics, drag, power, shapes, lift, stability, and downforce as applied to racing vehicles. Economics section addresses operating costs and aerodynamic influences upon fuel consumption. A practical problems workbook with answers and solutions is included.

    ISBN 0-931974-18-6

    1. Landa, Henry C.      2. Aerodynamics, Automotive 

I. Landa, Douglas Cox     II. Title     

$48.95 soft cover list, ISBN 0-931974-18-6        

$71.90 hardcover library binding list, ISBN 0-931974-26-7

    TL 245 L2.53  2011

    629.231  L253                                          [end of Cataloging Data]


How to Order  Send check or money 

order made out to "FICOA" and send to:


                5928 W. Michigan St.

                Wauwatosa, WI  53213-4248


Direct price* (single copy, soft cover w/sewn, not glued, binding) from the publisher: $48.95 postpaid in the U.S.A.


Direct price* (single copy, hardcover library binding) from the publisher: $71.90 postpaid in the U.S.A.


*Books purchased directly from the publisher (FICOA) carry a money-back guarantee: 

* "Guarantee: If The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook does not fulfill your needs or expectations, FICOA will refund the purchase price provided the book is returned within ten (10) days of receipt and in good condition."  

[This guarantee has been in effect since 1974 and exactly one book (a copy of The Solar Energy Handbook) has been returned ... and that was OK with us.]

Contact Us at:  FICOA, 5928 W. Michigan St., Wauwatosa, WI 53213-4248



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*"FICOA" is the acronym of The Film Instruction Company of America, a very small press publisher, originally in motion picture production and film supply, established in 1960 in Cleveland, Ohio.  FICOA specializes in technical books, including the items listed on this web page .  All FICOA publications carry a money-back guarantee. This website is part of FICOA.

September  2017