General Aircraft Operating Procedures


General Aircraft Operating Procedures

Centennial Airport is one of the nation’s busiest General Aviation airports. Due to the amount of operations and the complex mix of aircraft types that utilize the airport, the Control Tower has adopted certain special practices and procedures that help increase safety and reduce delays. The control tower is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


N39° 34.21’ W104° 50.96’

Field Elevation


Airport Frequencies

DEN App/Dep 132.75

ATIS 120.3 or 303-799-6722

FSS 122.2 or 800-428-7652

ILS/DME 111.3 

Clearance 128.6 

Ground 121.8 

Tower 118.9

Runway Dimensions

RY 17L/35R 10,000’ x 100’

RY 17R/35L 7,000’ x 77’

Ry 10/28 4,800’ x 75’

APA Runway Safety

Hot Spots

A hot spot is defined as a location on an airport movement area with a history of potential risk of collision or runway incursion, and where heightened attention by pilots and drivers is necessary. Click on image for scalable diagram.

Airport Diagram

HS 1 Pilots instructed to taxi to Rwy 17L and “Monitor Tower” sometimes enter the runway without ATC clearance. Expect to HOLD SHORT. Tower will contact you.

HS 2 Twy A, Twy A8, Twy A9 and Twy C1 congested intersections.

HS 3 Twy C1 and Twy D1 close proximity to Rwy 10. 

Ground Movement

♦ All aircraft must readback runway assignments and hold short instructions.

♦ Must receive a clearance to operate on all Movement areas.

♦ Do not call for taxi instructions until you are approaching or holding short of a movement area.

♦ While taxiing for departure, remain on ground control and advise them when you are ready for departure.

♦ Ground control determines the sequence at the runway. DO NOT CONTACT THE TOWER.

♦ When instructed, switch to and monitor the tower frequency. Hold short of ALL runways. The tower has your information and will contact you.

♦ All ramp areas are uncontrolled and no separation services are provided. Use caution as movement on the ramps is at your own risk. If you must use Taxiway A, advise the ground controller.

♦ While on the ramp, give way to aircraft exiting the movement area.

♦ Listen to the ATIS as Ground may be combined onto the tower frequency.

VFR Arrivals

♦ Two-way communication with the tower must be established prior to you entering Class D airspace. Entering the Class D without permission can result in a pilot deviation. We suggest contacting us between 8-10 miles out. Aircraft receiving VFR flight following from Denver TRACON are responsible for contacting Centennial Tower prior to entering our airspace. There is no VFR handoff from the TRACON to Centennial Tower.

♦ Provide us with all of your information on initial contact. (“Centennial Tower, Cessna 12345, 11 miles southwest Centennial with ATIS Alpha inbound for touch and go’s.”)

♦ Listen carefully and fully comply with pattern entry instructions. An instruction to enter a left base does not allow you to enter a midfield left downwind. Arrival spacing and sequencing is dependent on you following our instructions.

♦ VFR aircraft on practice approach must still “see and avoid” other aircraft. Please advise us on initial contact how the approach will terminate.

♦ Arrivals to runway 17R/35L or 28 may be issued another Tower frequency on initial contact such as 123.7 or 124.6 and asked to ident.

♦ If you land runway 17R/35L expect to remain on Tower frequency while taxiing on taxiway B and expect to HOLD SHORT runway 17L/35R.

♦ If you lose sight of the aircraft you were following, advise the tower.

♦ Close your VFR flight plan with Denver Flight Service.

VFR Departures

♦ Provide all information to the Ground Controller on initial contact. This helps reduce frequency congestion. (“Centennial Ground, Cessna 12345, with ATIS Alpha, departing southeast bound, and we require a run-up.”)

♦ All departing aircraft are expected to taxi to the full length of the assigned runway. An intersection departure must be requested and/or assigned by the Ground Controller.

♦ Advise the Ground Controller when your run-up is complete and you’re ready for departure. Remain in the run-up area until you receive your taxi instruction to the runway and sequence. When instructed, switch to and MONITOR the Tower frequency while holding short of the assigned runway.

♦ Advise the Ground Controller when you require a delay on the runway as this may impact your departure sequence. All aircraft are expected to be “Ready to Roll.”

♦ Do not cross the Hold Short Line unless you receive a clearance from the Tower. The Ground Controller will never issue a clearance for takeoff or line up and wait.

♦ Once airborne, always be on the lookout for other aircraft. Remember, you are responsible to “see and avoid.”

♦ While operating in the Class D, always maintain 2-way communication with the Tower unless permission is granted to leave the frequency early. However, once clear of the APA Class D airspace there is NO need to call the Tower for a
frequency change.

♦ Don’t hesitate to reconfirm a clearance if you do not understand it or if you’re unable to comply with ATC instructions. You are the pilot in command and responsible for your aircraft.

♦ Remain clear of arrival flight paths for runways in use.

♦ Remain clear of the Denver Class B at all times.

Having Radio Problems?

♦ Listen to ATIS, listed frequency may be out of service or the controller is utilizing an alternate frequency.

♦ Please do not do radio checks on the tower frequency

♦ Move your aircraft. You may be between hangers which are affecting your transmission and/or reception.

♦ If it appears quiet to you, check your mic to see if it’s stuck.

♦ Airborne radio failure, squawk 7600. Fly to airport at or above 7300’ and orbit the field while looking for a windsock or watch the traffic flow. Enter the downwind and look for a Green light. Rock your wings to acknowledge the light signal and land. Keep an eye on the tower though because if you receive a red light, GO AROUND!

♦ Do you have a cell phone? Call the Tower at 720-873-2789 and we will provide you the instructions to land at Centennial. Your cell phone should work at the lower altitudes. 

To download a PDF version of the APA general aviation operation procedures guide, click HERE.