Circular Runway for Airport Efficiency

Elle Zhan Wei
April 3rd 2017

Humans have long wished to fly, but unfortunately we still don't have wings. We do have an alternative: airplanes. In this moment there are more people flying on a plane, than there were alive on earth in the stone age. With the worldwide increased demand for planes and airports but less land available for huge constructions, we might need to rethink how our airports are built.

Imagine an airport that instead of being surrounded by complicated crossing runways, it just has one circular runway placed elegantly around it for all in and out air traffic. This revolutionary idea was proposed by Henk Hesselink from the Netherlands Aerospace Center and reported by BBC news.

The project brings visible benefits. Airport runways are built to deal with wind direction and speed for safe a take-off and landing. A circular runway avoids the complications originated from cross winds, effectively reducing the restriction of wind direction. It also increases the mobility of the aircraft. According to Hesselink, up to three planes can take off or land on the runway at the same time: “The 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. Pilots and passengers will not feel like they are in a rollercoaster. They will only use part of this limited circle”, he explains.

Furthermore, thanks to the improved efficiency provided by the circular runway, a lesser amount of fuel burn and a lower noise level around the airport are expected. Although this proposal aroused some controversy regarding its legitimacy in the aviation world, it draws attention to the future of airports. Less cost in flying would mean more accessibility. Pushing the progress forward, this is a valuable project...suppose the circular runway works!

Source: BBC, NLR.

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