In a bid to manage air traffic efficiently, a radical and novel concept proposes to abandon the traditional runways at airports for a circular runway. Titled as “the Endless Runway”, the breakthrough model intends to shift the lift-off and touchdown points of aircraft.
After spending years researching on the subject, Aviation expert Henk Hesselink of the Netherlands Aerospace Centre believes that circular runways could be the future of air travel. “My big idea is a circular runway. Aircraft can takeoff and land at points on this circle to make certain they have no crosswind and only headwind,” Hesselink was quoted as saying by bbc.
The main highlight of this concept is that it will become possible to let an aircraft avoid crosswinds while landing and takeoff.
“Passengers will experience a slight turn similar to a turn in the air. Because of the centrifugal forces, the aircraft will automatically go slower and towards the centre of the runway,” said the Dutch expert, adding “Pilots and passengers will not feel like they are in a roller coaster. They will only use part of this limited circle”.
A circular runway is equivalent in length to three straight runways, and up to three planes can takeoff and land anytime. Apart from military tests in the 1960s, a commercial circular runway has never been built.
Besides avoiding tricky landings, the circular runways can also have positive social and environmental impact. “This offers the possibility for less fuel burn in the area around the airfield. We can also design procedures to make certain that the environment is experiencing less noise as we now have the possibility to fly in from any direction and towards any direction. We can make a decision on where to fly and where to avoid flying,” he elaborated while adding that everyone living around the airport will have similar amount of noise. The circle of the runway, whose overall diameter is 3.5 kilometers, is large enough to provide ample space to house the terminals at its centre.