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Is the circular runway ever going to take flight? Could circular runways be the answer to aviation’s environmental woes? The ‘Endless Runway’ project, developed by a team of Dutch experts from the Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR), basically portrays the space-saving, emission-reducing notion of a circular runway in the most visually appealing manner possible. The project and concept are unquestionably groundbreaking, and International Airport Review talked directly with Senior R&D Manager Henk Hesselink for an insider’s perspective.

The proposal dubbed ‘Endless Runway’ seems highly audacious… What exactly is it?

The Endless Runway is a revolutionary notion for a new method to operate a runway that has ramifications for the operation and construction of the whole airport.

NLR was the convener of a coalition of research institutes that examined the concept of a circular runway. The research was conducted in collaboration with colleagues in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, and Poland. The study was partially financed by the European Commission’s Framework 7 initiative. The European Commission recognizes that mobility will be a priority in the next decades, necessitating the development of ground-breaking technologies.

Passengers will not feel as though they are on a roller coaster during take-off or landing.

This runway is a circular with no restrictions on where to take-off or land. This enables flights to and from any direction to be conceivable. The circle is rather huge, with a circumference of 3.5 kilometers. Thus, the total length of the runway is ten kilometers. This implies that passengers will not feel as though they are on a roller coaster during take-off or landing; instead, they will experience a maximum of 1.2g pressures, akin to a train on a curved track. A conventional landing needs just a small section of the runway with a little curvature.

Current airports operate runways with set directions, resulting in a restricted number of take-off and landing options. Due to this, the runway’s capacity is reduced during a storm. Due of this set orientation, certain neighborhoods are subjected to greater noise than others.

At the Endless Runway, airplanes may land anywhere inside the circle. This allows for the potential of always finding at least one site with no crosswind and just headwind. This enables the airport to operate at a sustainable level of capacity.

In view of the highly exciting statements that the circular runway might potentially resolve a number of concerns, how would it function physically?

The airplane will depart from a place with no crosswind. Aircraft may take off and land anywhere on the circle under low wind circumstances. This enables an optimal position to be selected depending on the landing aircraft’s origin or destination while taking off.

The runway has a banked configuration. Beginning at the innermost point of the circle on a level surface, the bank angle steadily increases toward the outermost point. Due to centrifugal forces, an aircraft that begins in the center of the circle will travel to the outside section until it takes off.