Aerospace Engineers Propose Building Circular Runways

A Dutch team of aerospace engineers led by Henk Hesselink argue that future airports should be built with circular runways rather than linear ones. This would give pilots flexibility during variable weather conditions and allow for an easier traffic flow. In 2017, Hesselink spoke to International Airport Review about these advantages:

This runway is a circle, that has no limitations on where to take-off or land on this circle. This makes it possible to fly in from or out to any direction. The size of the circle is pretty large, its diameter is 3.5 kilometres. Total length of the runway therefore is 10 km. This means that passengers during take-off or landing will not feel like they are in a roller coaster, a maximum of 1.2g forces will be experienced, similar to a train on a curved track. A typical landing only requires a part of the runway with a limited curve.
Current airports operate runways with fixed directions, so a limited number of directions is available for take-off and landing. During a storm, the capacity of the runway is limited because of this. This fixed direction also means that some communities experience more noise than others.
At the Endless Runway, aircraft have the possibility to land anywhere on the circle. This gives the possibility to find always at least one point where there is no crosswind and only headwind. This means that the airport can operate a sustainable capacity.

-via Dave Barry | Photo: Netherlands Aerospace Center

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>> Airplanes take off and land into the wind
Maybe it's you that doesn't understand their model?it is *highly* unlikely that at any given point in time, the current wind conditions are perfectly aligned with the runway. With 360* in a circle, there is exactly 2/360 chances that this is the case.With a circular design there is *always* some part of the runway that is *perfectly* aligned with the current wind direction. Therefore air traffic controllers can align incoming (and outgoing) planes with the current wind by just shifting which point on the circle they land/take off from. This way there is *always* an opportunity to land or take off in perfect alignment with the wind.Don't get me wrong, this is a massive shift in air traffic control measures (approach routes, ILM controls, etc.), and I don't see it happening any time soon, but the principle concept is sound.
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Early airports have been build as disc shaped landing areas, and they have evolved to the strip design, i really assume that there is no way back. A very good example of designers having no clue of the subject matter they design and the fact that the road to hell is plastered with good intentions. Usually the landing gear of a plane is not well designed to make high speed turns. Additionally landing in a curve would also increase the landing speed, which is not desirable, and bringing a plane into the air seems also much more complicated. Air traffic patterns for this "merry fly round" seem to be just horrible. Ok fine, where do you put those usual markers for "blast pad", "threschold", and the markings indicating the distance to the end of the runway. Also is it clockwise or counterclockwise landing ring, or will it vary depending on righthand or lefthand traffic used in the streets of the respective country. Any pilot of a conventional taildragger landing gear airplane surely will experience new level of cursing when using this landing strip. Putting an aricraft damageless onto the grround requires a nubmer of decisions, it is already difficult enough to make all these decisions if you have clear limits and markings in case of smooth transitions as in case of a circular runway, this just sucks. I imagine the ILS design for instrument landing and the approach lighting system not to talk of VASI, PAPI or OLS on this monstrosity. The fact that even the research has been funded by the European Commission, indicates that the european commission should be given less money. And due to the fact that usually there is always a predominant direction of wind, it would be a waste of ressources to also provide possibilities to land in directions usually not requried. And finally the pilots and traffick controlles and the navigation map painters will immediately notice that the design is missing the gibbets for honouring the designers.They also designed an aircraft that would be optimised for use of the Endless Runway" should be the killer argument against this design.
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