Dutchman invents circular runway for airplanes

A new idea is taking off with possibilities to decrease the amount of land an airport would need to take up, thereby improving the area’s surroundings while simultaneously protecting the environment by saving fuel.

Endless Runway

Dutchman Henk Hesseling, an employee of the Dutch Air and Space Travel Laboratory (NLR) has joined forces with the radical new European airport concept "The Endless Runway", to devise a circular runway that will allow planes to land and brake by driving circles around the airport building, rather than driving on a long, straight landing strip.


This new system could have various benefits:

  • The runway would have a diameter of about 3,5km, only taking up a third of the space of a traditional airport.
  • Planes would be able to take off and land regardless of wind direction and dangerous cross-winds, as they could take off from any point in the circle.
  • Planes would not be tied to their regular flight routes, making it possible to divert them from inhabited areas, minimising noise pollution.
  • Multiple planes would be able to land and take off at once, enhancing the airport’s capacity.

Funnel effect

Careful calibrations have been made to make sure the planes can land safely. The road would have a slight tilt to make sure they don’t run off the edge, causing a sort of funnel effect. Passengers will experience a slight turn.

Runway of the future

At the moment, the circular runway is still in its developing stages. It is being thoroughly tested by flight simulators.

Tests seem optimistic at the moment. The research by Hesseling has been funded by the European Commission, but only time will tell if his design will really be built someday. A circular runway has never been constructed before, but we might see it in the near future.

YouTube video by Smart Gadgets Technology

Sources: Blikopnieuws, Endless Runway,

Alexandra van Kampen


Alexandra van Kampen

English and Japanese theatre and culture are my forte. My mother was raised in England, and my grandmother in Japan. I studied Japanese Language and Culture, and Film and Photographic...

Read more



Leave a comment