All those star-fighter craft that we see in the epic space opera franchise of Star Wars have some things in common. First, they look awesome. Second, according to real-world aerodynamics they’re supposed to be having trouble keeping airborne on their shapes alone. This was discovered after some “virtual” wind-tunnel testing.
EC Henry on YouTube was inspired to perform such an experiment using virtual wind tunnel simulation software, Auto Desk Flow. With it, he took some 3D graphic models of star fighters from Star Wars and put them to the test. His findings revealed that, aerodynamically, Star Wars fighters have wind-trouble.
Here we have a list of the tested Star Wars space vehicles on Auto Desk Flow, along with (current canon) source, and their resulting drag coefficient – a statistical measuring of air resistance on an object, that is their hulls. The larger it is, the worse it fares on real-world air. Best to worst, they are:
- Naboo N-1 (Prequel Trilogy) – 0.10
- A-Wing Fighter (Original Trilogy) – 0.17
- Poe Dameron’s T-70 X-Wing (Sequel Trilogy) – 0.24
- ARC-170 Aggressive ReCon (Prequel Trilogy) – 0.39
- T-65 X-Wing (Original Trilogy) – 0.45
- TIE Striker (Rogue One) – 0.48
- Y-Wing Bomber (Original Trilogy) – 0.68
- TIE Interceptor (Star Wars Rebels) – 0.78
- TIE Fighter (Original Trilogy) – 0.98
If you need a real-life frame of reference for how less feasible Star Wars fighters come up in the real world, know that the McDonnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II fighter-bomber, now a 60-year-old airframe, has a drag coefficient figure of 0.02, better than the best Star Wars “design” from Naboo. Well, Star Wars is sci-fi after all.