Circular runways could change the aviation game.
According to Henk Hesselink, an engineer at Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), circular runways can revolutionize how planes take off and land by increasing the number of flights taking off and landing.
If built as a 2.2-mile wide circle, nearly 7 miles in circumference around an airport, runways would allow a high volume of traffic as several takeoff and landings could take place simultaneously.
The circular runways design is a part of The Endless Runway project, led by a team of Dutch scientists from the NLR.
According to Hesselink, the design is safer than traditional airports because aircraft can avoid dangerous crosswinds by landing in any direction.
Planes can land from anywhere, which means planes don’t have to fly over the residential areas as often, hence, lowering noise pollution.
Hesselink also says that circular runways can have positive social and environmental impacts.
“This offers a possibility of lesser 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 the decision on where to fly and where to avoid flying.” Says Hesselink.
Hesselink told Mashable, “We need to rethink the way we are dealing with airports, with capacity, with the environment”.
“We are looking for a solution where aircraft can take off and land under any weather conditions.”
A singular circular runway could handle the traffic of four conventional runways and takes up less space. “We can keep on optimizing the system, but at a certain moment, small steps don’t work any more and we really need a new idea to cope with the anticipated traffic”
The circular runway is a part of an effort to increase airports’ capacity amid increasing levels of traffic. Scientists believe mobility will be stressed in the future and new technology and innovation will be necessary.
Image Credits: NLR