Circular Runways Could Cut Airline Fuel Consumption and Reduce Noise, But Will They Take Off?

Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Eco-Friendly, Environment with 0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

© Endless Runway

By Lloyd Alter | Treehugger

Airports take up a lot of room that could be used for other productive purposes, and often their runways do not align with the wind direction, making landings difficult. But Designboom shows us what might be the answer to the problem: make the runways into a big circle. Designboom notes that ” that making runways ring-shaped can have a positive environmental impact. since planes will not have to compete with strong cross winds, they will burn less fuel in the area around the airfield. ” They are also much smaller.

The idea, from Henk Hesselink of the Netherlands Aerospace Centre, is in the news thanks to a recent BBC video.


It is an interesting idea; Hesselink writes:

The fundamental principle of The Endless Runway is that the aircraft take-off and land on a large circular structure. This will allow for the unique characteristic that the runway can be used in any wind direction, thus making the runway independent of the direction of the wind and therefore also the airport capacity independent of the wind direction.

endless runway approaches

© The Endless Runway

Since the BBC video came out there have been numerous posts on websites from pilots who say it is ridiculous, that landing will be harder for the pilots, that navigation systems will not work, that a banking plane has to go faster to maintain lift. One critic tells LifeHacker: “Guy who made this probably isn’t a pilot or did it as a joke.” Jeff Gilmore of AVgeekery says “This idea is as dumb as a football bat. What’s even more disappointing is that the BBC reporter barely knows enough about aviation to challenge this ‘expert’. A ’news’ story like this one should be downright embarrassing for a major worldwide-news network.” He then goes on to list ten reasons why it would never work.

They may all be right, and I am no pilot. But I went back to the original sources at the Endless Runway website and scanned some of the hundreds of pages of documents available there, and it appears that all of these points are addressed, and that this is certainly no joke.

urban airport

The Endless Runway/via

The idea has also been around for a while; the background document shows a number of patent applications going back many years. The Navy actually used endless runways to train pilots in crosswind landings. Hesselink concludes at the end of one 140 page summary:

The results of the literature survey in this document are promising and suggest that a circular runway can be developed with current and expected technology. Today’s aircraft characteristics allow to take off and land with speeds and low altitude bank angles compatible with the operation on a circular track. The Endless Runway fits in future concepts that specify improved planning of operations, new navigation equipment, and intermodal transport.

Now I feel I should point out that over the years there have been so many times that I have been called an idiot who doesn’t know what I am talking about, particularly about subjects that I studied in university and dealt with as an architect or teach as a professor. People tend to make snap judgments, particularly in comments.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…

Tags: , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS FeedConnect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the stories on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to friend