Last Updated on June 7, 2021 by Vikas Kalwani
You might have seen a concept video of a going viral on social media. This new radical concept was proposed by the Dutch Engineer Henk Hesselink of the Netherlands Aerospace Centre.
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- This new would take up only one-third of the space of a .
- will not be an issue since the won’t need to take into account . The can simply land at a spot on the where there is negligible . Here’s a video compilation of airplanes battling and troublesome on a
- The could be routed away from residential areas during and because of the . can also be avoided if we go for a .
- On a , only one can land or at one time. However, can use the at the same time resulting in .
Here’s how the would look like for Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, and Amsterdam.
The indeed looks promising and spectacular in concept videos and on paper but can the be the future of ?
Let’s dive deep into some technical aspects surrounding to understand if the will ever take off?
We stated the advantages of the above. It’s time we shift our focus to the real deal. Can this type of a concept really take off? What could be the technical challenges? Will the pros outweigh the cons? Let’s find out. Here’s why I believe the will not be the future of .
Obstacle Clearance Area in the direction of landing & take-off
Traditional runways are straight because, in the and take-off direction, there is an obstacle clearance area. In simple words, an obstacle clearance area is a region some distance away in the line of the on both sides that is free from obstacles like trees, buildings, mountains, etc.
Airplanes need this region so as maintain a decent approach profile during . As a , when we take off, we absolutely want the area ahead of us to be free from obstacles.
With , we won’t have a fixed and take-off spot. Hence, in order to have that obstacle clearance area, we need to demolish the obstacles all around the . Can we really afford that?
If the obstacle clearance area is not the same for each degree of the 360 degrees of the , there will be different performance calculations for each degree.
Problems with Aircraft Handling after an Engine Failure
Once in a while, engine failures do happen. When an engine fails, the working engine turns the towards the failed engine.
With , there will be an extreme problem with handling if one of the engines fails just after . This is on account of the two forces acting simultaneously – the centrifugal force due to the circular motion of the and the force exerted by the working engine (which will turn the towards the dead engine).
On account of these two forces, it will be extremely difficult for pilots to have the under control if an engine fails after on a .
Speeding Aircraft on a Slippery Circular Runway
The speed of an (say Boeing 737) when it lands and takes off is comparable to the maximum speed of a Formula1 race car. Pilots do a great job at such high speeds even when the is slippery and wet.
Let’s take the case of a wet and slippery in excess of 300 km/hr on a wet that is circular? . Do you really think handling the will be easy at speeds
Life is not a video game!
will not be safe for landings and take-offs, especially during rainy, snowy, and stormy weather conditions.
Wingtip clearance on account of Banking
Since the outer edge of the will be banked, the will face the problem of wingtip clearance. The wingtips and engines on the outer edge of the banked will be more closer to the ground when compared to the wingtips and engines on the inner edge.
On account of uneven and reduced wingtip clearances, pilots will need automated support for takeoffs and landings. There could be changes in as well.
Moreover, on account of the , an will need to land faster than normal to avoid a stall.
Changes in Holding Patterns of Adjacent Airports
Let’s assume one ditches the and alters its according to the .
Have you wondered how this will affect the of adjacent airports?
If one switches to a , then neighboring airports will have to change their holding patterns. A holding pattern is a (generally oval) followed by the that awaits further clearance.
Moreover, they will need to switch to as well.
We focused on the advantages of the and its disadvantages. The concept looks good on paper, it is a futuristic concept. However, will never be the future of . The technical challenges outweigh the advantages.
I really like the concept though.