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Circular Runway At ONZ, How Does It Work?

Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:14 am

I saw photo on the data base of Grosse Ile, MI (ONZ) airport. The caption states that you can see the old circular runway. It is a paved circle between the regular runways. I guess that is from the days when ONZ was a naval air station. What is a a circular runway? Why would you have such a thing? and How does is work? I have seen something similar at an old air station in Newport, MI too.

The sign at ONZ says that it was a Naval Air Station until 1969. What kinds of planes was the Navy flying there in the 50s and 60s?
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RE: Circular Runway At ONZ, How Does It Work?

Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:53 am

And there used to be one in Northern Louisiana at Mansfield back in the 70's. This question was a favourite with examiners on the private check-ride oral back then.
On the sectional maps, the runway pattern did look like a round runway.
What these airports were was training bases during WW II and rather than having round runways, they usually consisted of regular straight runways laid out in a pattern where the end of one runway would connect with the next runway at about a 45 degree angle. They were great for training crosss wind landings or the reverse, you would not very likely have a crosswind landing due to the many selections of runway headings. By the time I eventually flew into the one at Mansfield, all but one runway was closed and the one that was open had a severely displaced threshold. From what I understand that airport is now a golf course and was replaced with a new airport in a different location.
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RE: Circular Runway At ONZ, How Does It Work?

Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:47 am

I'd never heard of this, let alone visualized it, so in case anyone else was wondering what it looked like here's a shot of ONZ:

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RE: Circular Runway At ONZ, How Does It Work?

Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:08 am

I suppose that it was such that the navy planes could always take off into the wind. With a big military budget and with the STOL aircraft at the time, it was feasible since the diameter of the circle didn't need to be big. If a modern airport tried it today, it would be a fiscal nightmare and thus the round runways aren't seen much anymore.
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