Are Circular Runways the Future of Aviation?

Katheryne Helendale

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The idea is interesting, but one I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. Usually when you have to go in a circle, you slow down. How would aircraft - especially large ones - get up enough speed to take off? Or land safely?
 
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The reason you slow down when going around a circle is so you don't fly off the road. Aircraft, on the other hand, want to fly off the road.
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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Certainly never landed one. How on earth to you line up and make sure you're on the right glide slope, etc? Airplanes nowadays have to line up the near and far edges of the runway and look for a certain "sight picture" to make sure they're descending to the runway at the correct angle. Or they use instrument alignment, which requires a fixed radio beacon on the ground pointing up only in one direction at one specific angle. How are you going to do that for every possible angle on that circle runway?

....for that matter, how on earth do you issue landing instructions? Right now runways are given numbers based on their compass heading. But a circle has no heading!

"Delta 367, land on.....that spot. The one I'm pointing at. You can see my hand, right?"
 

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Makes me think they've never flown a plane.
Or even have a basic comprehension of flight. Yet they want to have 3 planes on the runway at once? First mishap they have will close that airport for good, Going to be real hard to belly land a jet liner which wants to go straight a head on a surface that is going to turn and vanish out form under it in way less time than a traditional one. Banked tracks only helps a bit, just watch a NASCAR race to see what happens when the surface gets wet... Plus they state that the planes can take off an land from angle angle! That would be such a air pattern nightmare not to mention that it means planes would be coming in from any angle flying over way more neighbourhoods. I'd hate to be an ATC at this flight of fantasy.

I eagerly await their next super space saving idea of building giant trebuchets and ballistae to help get planes into the air using almost zero runway!
 

Katheryne Helendale

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I eagerly await their next super space saving idea of building giant trebuchets and ballistae to help get planes into the air using almost zero runway!
Well...



This works for smaller craft, at least. It's a hell of a takeoff, though.
 

Caete

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Well...



This works for smaller craft, at least. It's a hell of a takeoff, though.
My Dad served on 3 carriers in the 50s. He said the cat shots were quite fun and made up for the puckering of the landings. We both enjoyed the hell out of Greezed Lightning at Astroworld as it used a shuttle to launch the coaster but it only got you up to 60mph. But yeah, that is nothing compared to a real cat shot when you get to 170mph. Fucking scary and orgasmic at the same time.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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My Dad served on 3 carriers in the 50s. He said the cat shots were quite fun and made up for the puckering of the landings. We both enjoyed the hell out of Greezed Lightning at Astroworld as it used a shuttle to launch the coaster but it only got you up to 60mph. But yeah, that is nothing compared to a real cat shot when you get to 170mph. Fucking scary and orgasmic at the same time.
I've never done a cat shot or a carrier landing, but I hear they're rather... intense.
 
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Caete

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Landings aren't all that either :p
Fun trivia: In the original Microprose F-19 game, you could hard pitch the nose up, gear out and with careful throttle control, lan on the deck from a side approach an have the nose almost touching the island.

Extra trivia: The flight moddel was good but buggy. If you got seriously shot up and were getting alarms and about to lose control, you could roll the aircraft upside down and fly back to base, and roll back onto wheels down just above the runway to complete your mission.
 
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I think we can better stick with what we have.
I doubt if flying will have such a bright future that we should experiment with airport layouts.
It is better to rethink the way we fly and if we really need to fly.
 
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How would aircraft - especially large ones - get up enough speed to take off? Or land safely?
Not the way the artist depicted it... a wall of death approach with a vertical runway barrel could work though (but would scare hell out of passengers and best is limited to military and freight use)
 
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Casey Pelous

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Aside from all the other objections, this brainstorm doesn't even achieve the stated objective of reducing land use. The thing is 2.2 miles in diameter. Leave some safety margins at the edges, and we're talking about a square of land about three miles on a side.

I did a little research and as I suspected, Seattle-Tacoma Airport's longest runway is 11,900 feet, or 2.25 miles -- and even counting the parking facility, that airport is not 2.25 miles wide. Square footage-wise, we win, and we weren't even trying! That Sea-Tac runway must rank as giant, too, because when you come in on a 747 or A380, you usually see a lot of runway go by beneath you before you touch down. And, sure enough, even the A380 -- destined to soon be as much a dinosaur as the 747 -- only requires 9,020 feet for takeoff, and much less for landing. (I'm sure pilots have some sort of saying about, "No such thing as too much [something], [something], or runway," but those are the requirements, and the A380 is the civilian airplane with the longest runway requirements at the moment. (I don't know about military planes, but since they are required to not mind a bit of a rough ride, I imagine they have ways of managing "shorter than optimal" runway lengths.)

I rather suspect this "plan" from the "Netherlands Aerospace Centre" may be the product of a bunch of engineers hitting that ol' Dutch wacky tabacky to excess.
 

Caete

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I think we can better stick with what we have.
I doubt if flying will have such a bright future that we should experiment with airport layouts.
It is better to rethink the way we fly and if we really need to fly.
There has been quite a lot of rethinking about the way we fly. There has been heavy research into electric engines which seem to generate less noise but bring a lot of other issues along with them including but not limited to battery life, weight and charge capacity.

Other research about different aspects of flight are ongoing as well. We've been conducting sonic boom tests over Galveston using new flight models for some time now. At ground level the result is not the loud KACRAK you may be used to hearing but instead sounds more like a car doom being slammed shut about 30 ft away. Of course now the big challenge is to take all this data, design a new airframe that takes advantage of the findings and keep it economically feasible.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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This just looks like a stellar idea - as stellar as solar pathways/streets, for example. The authors of this "study" clearly don't seem to have any basic knowledge about flying at all.

Did you ever wonder why planes are not just departing when ready, but there's on every busy airport a minimum delay for takeoff between two airplanes? The answer is to avoid wake turbulences.

How on earth should avoiding wake turbulences be possible on a circular runway?
 

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The idea of circle runways mixed with the big drone flyby problem airports still have even despite laws, gives this onetime Air Traffic Controller in training a big headache.
 
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Caete

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This just looks like a stellar idea - as stellar as solar pathways/streets, for example. The authors of this "study" clearly don't seem to have any basic knowledge about flying at all.

Did you ever wonder why planes are not just departing when ready, but there's on every busy airport a minimum delay for takeoff between two airplanes? The answer is to avoid wake turbulences.

How on earth should avoiding wake turbulences be possible on a circular runway?
Also, having it accessible for landing from any angle means you would need approach lighting systems for all those landing angles. That means even more land having to be reserved, secured, maintained, power supplied, repeated for the decision bars (in the US) so whatever minimal land savings they get from the oval design of the runways they are losing an then some for the support systems.

Not to mention if there was some reason a runway was shut down, there is no alternate runway to taxi over to depart from.
 
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