General aircraft operations procedures

Centennial Airport is one of the nation’s busiest general aviation airports. Due to the number 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. 



Airport Operations 
24/7 303-877-7307


N39° 34.21’ W104° 50.96’

Field Elevation


Airport Frequencies

DEN Approach/Departure



Phone: 303-799-6722



Phone: 800-428-7652















Runway Dimensions

RWY 17L/35R         10,000’ x 100’

RWY 17R/35L         7,000’ x 77’

RWY 10/28              4,800’ x 75’ 



Clickable map for more videos!

APA Runway Safety

Hot Spots

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

This airport diagram is for reference use only:                         

  •  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, and TWY A9 are congested intersections, Rwy 10 run-up area is also a congested area. 
  • HS 3: TWY D1 and Twy C1 close proximity to Rwy 10.  
  • HS 4: TWY B at B8 intersection, HOLD SHORT of Rwy 17L/35R and remain on assigned frequency unless otherwise advised.

Ground Movement 

  • All aircraft must read back 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 Departures

  • Provide all information to the ground controller on initial contact. This helps to 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 runup is complete and you’re ready for departure. Remain in the run-up area until you receive your taxi instructions to the runway and sequence. When instructed, switch to and MONITOR the tower frequency while HOLDING SHORT OF THE ASSIGNED RUNWAY.

  • DO NOT leave the runup area until instructed.

  • 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 Class D, always maintain two-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.

 VFR Arrivals

  • Two-way communication with the tower must be established prior to you entering Class D airspace. Entering Class D without permission can result in a pilot deviation. We suggest contacting us 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 goes.”) 

  • 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 are dependent on you following instructions.

  • VFR aircraft on the practice approach must still “see and avoid” other aircraft. Please advise us on initial contact on 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 for 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.

Having Radio Problems?

  • Listen to ATIS, the 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 hangars that 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 the 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 STEADY RED LIGHT, give way to other aircraft and continue circling.         
  • Do you have a cell phone? Call the tower at 720-873-2785 and we will provide you the instructions to land at Centennial. Your cell phone should work at the lower altitudes.



Color and Type of Signal     Movement of Vehicles,
Equipment and Personnel    
Aircraft on the Ground     Aircraft in Flight    
Steady GREEN Cleared to cross, proceed or go. Cleared for takeoff Cleared to land
Flashing GREEN Not applicable Cleared to taxi Return for landing (to be followed by steady green at the proper time)
Steady RED STOP STOP Give way to other aircraft and continue circling
Flashing RED Clear the taxiway/runway Taxi clear of the runway in use Airport unsafe, DO NOT LAND
Flashing WHITE Return to the starting point on the airport Return to the starting point on the airport Not applicable
Alternating RED and GREEN Exercise extreme CAUTION                                Exercise extreme CAUTION                              Exercise extreme CAUTION


We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read our General Aviation Operating Procedures. Should you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us at 720-873-2770.

Safe flight!

FAA Centennial ATCT