In various countries around the world, sections of motorways and roads have been prepared for military flight operations. A particularly high density developed during the Cold War in Europe.
Typical features are:
- straight road section with a length of 2 to 3 kilometres
- continuous central reservation on motorways
- Obstacle-free approach, possibly deforested areas
- Obstacle clearance on both sides of the road, with notable exceptions
- Large parking spaces as ramp areas
- in some cases own ramp areas
At the end of the Cold War, most of the Highway Strips were taken out of service and dismantled. However, in some countries they remain part of the defence system and are regularly involved in exercises, for example in Sweden and Finland. In Poland, a new Highway Strip has been built and India and China even seem to start anew with such a concept.
Name: Lentokoneiden varalaskupaikka
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina)
N440509 E0164845 Google Maps
Glamoč airfield had a grass runway with paved threshold areas. In addition, it had a runway on the nearby road.
Stanke Dimitrov: Air Base
N421840 E0231446 Google Maps
Road from the airfield to Separeva Bania.
Cyprus (Κύπρος, Kıbrıs)
Czech Republic (Česká republika)
The two highway strips are probably not intended to be used anymore.
Deployment of A-10 aircraft to Jägala in 2016
Deployment of A-10 aircraft to Jägala in 2017
Highway strips in Finland are periodically used during exercises.
N663411 E0254750 Google Maps
Road 9523 west of the airport. Readiness areas in the north and south. Connection to the airport available.
In France, only one highway strip is known. Close to Munchhouse in Alsace there is a straight road, nearly 1900 m long and 20 m wide, with a parking area. It is probably not used anymore.
All German highway strips had been taken out of service. The strips were often brought back to normal Autobahn standards during regular construction works.
Old Federal Republic of Germany
Name: Notlandeplatz (NLP) (Emergency landing place), also see
Autobahn - Take Off
Exercise of the German Air Force on the Bad Neuenahr highway strip with Fiat G.91 aircrafthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwCAUepOIvE
A-10 Landing on Autobahn
Video from the exercise "Highway 84" on the Autobahn A 29 near Ahlhorn in 1984https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwo2QprI4R8
C-160 & C-130 Landing On Autobahn
Two C-160 Transall and one C-130 Hercules transport aircraft land on the Autobahn A29 during the "Highway 84" exercisehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLEbV_CehWs
Former East Germany
Name: Autobahnabschnitt ABA (Autobahn section), also see
N523745 E0141133 ca. Google Maps
Flugplatzabschnitte auf Autobahnen (Airstrips on Autobahn)
Part of the former official regulation DV 105/0/003 "Design and construction of airfields of the NVA", formerly "Secret". It describes the requirements for highway sections in East Germany.https://www.kondruss.com/mad/flugplaetze-ddr-nva/12-01-autobahnabschni...
Name: Drogowy odcinek lotniskowy (DOL)
Most of the Polish highway strips are not located on motorways, but on country roads, some of which are narrow. At the beginning of the 1990s, most of them were taken out of service. The Kliniska highway strip has been used for exercises occasionally. In addition, a new highway strip has been constructed in the east of Poland recently.
Mig-21 landing on a highway
This excerpt from the film "Miedzy niebem a ziemia" shows MiG-21 aircraft landing on and taking off from a highway strip.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpuORPtSxhY
This highway strip is probably not intended to be used anymore.
The Swedish name for highway strips is Reservvägbas. Excersises are held on them periodically.
N565831 E0162357 Google Maps
Possibly in the area of a former airfield. It has a readiness area in the north and in the south. The northern area is no longer connected to the motorway.
Switzerland (Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera)
Given the general situation it can be assumed that the highway strips in North Korea are still planned to be used. Apart from the locations listed here, more landing grounds are named as "Highway Strip" on maps of the US Department of Defense. However, on satellite pictures they are appear not on but next to the road. These are not listed here.
In South Korea, many highway strips have been dismantled or became unusable by bridges. In addition to the ones listed here, on maps of the US Department of Defense more places are called "Highway Strip", which do not run on a road, but as an independent emergency runway. They are not listed here.
Singapore's highway strips are occasionally used for training.
Singapore: Bedok / East Coast Parkway
N011855 E1035733 Google Maps
Singapore: Lim Chu Kang Road
N012325 E1034154 Google Maps
From Roads to Runways
Preparation of a road for flight operations within 48 hourshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBMD4QTSyqM
From time to time, highway strips in Taiwan are used in excersises. The ones listed here are named after the chainage of motorway (in kilometers).
In Australia there are countless emergency landing strips on roads prepared for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). The RFDS provides medical care in remote areas and lands on both bush runways and special road sections. The road sections are signposted and have marked thresholds. During aircraft operations, they are blocked at both ends by the police.
Here are some examples of emergency landing strips, of which there are many.
Eyre Highway: RFDS Emergency Landing Strip
S315351 E1273703 Google Maps
North West Coastal Highway: RFDS Emergency Landing Strip
S223631 E1152560 Google Maps
Stuart Highway: RFDS Emergency Landing Strip
S301234 E1351352 Google Maps
Traffic Management Plan – Nanutarra Emergency Airstrip NWCH
Traffic management plan for Nanutarry Emergency Airstrip on the North West Coastal Highway. To read the document, download it, save it locally, add the extension .pdf to the filename and then open it. Or open it with Chrome or Firefox, you are asked for it.https://www.mainroads.wa.gov.au/Documents/Nanutarra%20emergency%20airs...