Let's dispel the ever perpetuated myth that it has anything to do with the awning support arms.
Hinged on the left, with outward swing, it is a “right-handed” door. Decades of trailers that pre-date awning arms were most often designed with suicide doors because of the floor plan. There were no awning arms back then. Majority of awnings were rope and pole which couldn't interfere with doorswing.
In the years preceding air conditioning, in the most popular floor-plans, ventilation of the front salon (often doubling as a sleeping area) took precedence in design. The cross flow breeze was achieved by opening the windows, which were most often top hinged (awning style) for greatest airflow. Sometimes sliding, and even roll-down like automobiles are found. If the door was a Left handed, when open, it would impede maximum
airflow. Secondary to ventilation, was the view to outside. An open door blocking the view from salon was avoided by a suicide door. Sometimes a window in a left-handed (non suicide) door would exactly overlay the salon, front room, livingroom, window.
That is the reason for suicide doors… Designing for maximum Ventilation, and an unobstructed view. It was later, that modern awning mechanisms came to interfere with the historically accepted design.
The sixties Airstreams were designed with rope and pole awnings in mind. Yes, there were some budding, innovative after-matket attached awning designs adapted to the sixties. The ZipDee website shows their “Oldest Known” first attached Airstream design on a seventies model.
The awning arm is not to blame on a '69 Caravel
. Airstream's shallow engineering gene pool, combined with build cheapest way (they wouldn't make a left handed door just for the Caravel
, It got the same cast door as all the big trailers), use up old/existing stock, unconsciousness, inattentiveness, terminal cluelessness, all combine to a haphazard occurrence of door swing in Airstreams.
Though the body contour and aluminum rib structure of Airstreams adds to the challenge, there are too many examples of improperly hinged Airstream doors. Throughout history, Airstream's doorswing ignorance is unexplainable. Some modern Airstream door-swings were still designed to break open windows. How does this dimwitted flaw get into production?
Today's attached awning support arms are a ridiculous hassle, and hopefully will be engineered out of awning design. There are some pretty clever innovations on the horizon.
Even if you have a dead-bolt, the redundancy of a home-made suicide door wedge is absolutely necessary…