Noise Abatement FAQsHow busy is the airport? How is the level of activity at the airport measured?
Where does Centennial rank with regards to level of activity?
What are the airport's hours of operation?
When do most airplanes depart or arrive at Centennial?
Why do so many airplanes take off and land in the same direction?
What areas experience the greatest amount of aircraft overflights?
Who do I call to complain about airplane noise?
What noise abatement procedures are in effect?
Why is there airplane traffic during the middle of the night?
Is there a legal minimum altitude that airplanes can fly over residential areas?
What can the Airport Authority do to keep airplanes from flying over my neighborhood?
What is considered airport noise?
Will aircraft continue to become quieter?
Activity levels at airports are measured by aircraft operations. An operation is defined by the FAA as a takeoff or a landing. So, a "touch and go" conducted by a training aircraft counts as two operations.
In 2005, Centennial Airport accommodated 344,619 aircraft operations. That's a takeoff or landing every 80 seconds! However, most of the traffic is concentrated in the daytime hours. The record year at Centennial occurred in 1998, with over 466,000 aircraft operations. See our Airport Data page for operations and fuel sales statistics.
Centennial is currently ranked number two in the nation among airports that
are not certified for airline service, ranked number #25 of all airports (including
airports like LAX, Chicago's O'Hare, and New York's La Guardia) and Centennial
is the only airport in the US to have three FBO's ranked in the top 25
of all US based FBO's.
Centennial Airport is open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in most weather conditions.
The airport has a rush hour just like the highways do. Our heaviest
traffic volumes occur between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and again between
3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Airplanes must takeoff and land into the wind. The primary wind direction here at Centennial is from the north and south, and the primary set of runways are oriented accordingly. About 55 percent of the traffic at Centennial takes off to the south, and the remainder takes off to the north. (Top)
The areas immediately north and south of the airport experience very high volumes of aircraft traffic. Almost 90 percent of Centennial's traffic (356,560 operations in 2004) use the north/south runways. A number of smaller aircraft use the east/west crosswind runway as a means to keep separation from the larger jet traffic. Areas directly east of the airport are impacted by these operations. (Top)
The Airport Authority is charged with addressing noise complaints. You can reach our office at (303) 790-0598 Ext. 2909 and talk to Chris McLain, the Noise & Planning Specialist, or call directly into our noise complaint hotline at (303) 790-4709. When using the hotline, please keep the following guidelines in mind - we apologize for the cumbersome procedure:
- 1) Provide all information requested on the recording - incomplete complaints will not be considered.
- 2) Complaints need to contain specific times - general statements like "20 airplanes between 5 and 8" will not be accepted.
- 3) Complaints containing profanity will not be considered.
- 4) Complaints containing threats to aircraft will be reported to the FBI and local authorities.
- 5) If you would like a return call, be sure to leave your name and telephone number on the recording, and the Noise & Environmental Specialist will return your call as soon as possible.
We currently have a number of noise abatement procedures in effect. They are:
- 1) Voluntary Noise Abatement Procedures
- 2) Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Procedures:
- 3) Maintain minimum altitude of 7300' east of Parker Rd. and west of Yosemite St., unless directed otherwise by air traffic control.
- 4) Training traffic within the Runway 17R Traffic Pattern remain south of Arapahoe Rd. and east of I-25, unless directed otherwise by air traffic control.
In addition to the above procedures, we encourage all tenants and users
to follow the National
Business Aircraft Association's Fly Quiet procedures.
Centennial Airport is open 24 hours a day. We do have aircraft activity at night, mostly flights carrying light cargo or checks for the Federal Reserve. These overnight flights are a critical piece of the economy. In addition, interstate commerce laws require that the airport remain open 24/7.
A large portion of our overnight flights are also air-ambulance flights
transporting patients, blood, or organs to points throughout the state
and country. The largest air-ambulance companies in Denver provide air-ambulance
service to the entire Denver area through Centennial Airport. Law enforcement
and news media also use the airport regularly at night.
Federal Aviation Regulations specify a minimum altitude of 1,000 feet
over congested areas and 500 feet over non-congested areas. The exception
to this rule are helicopters and aircraft that are in the process of
taking off or landing.
In an odd "Catch 22,", the Airport Authority is responsible
for airport noise but has absolutely no control over how and where the
aircraft fly. Once the wheels of the aircraft leave the pavement, the
aircraft is under the control of the Federal Aviation Administration
Air Traffic Control. Safety is the #1 concern and keeping maximum separation
between aircraft takes precedence over noise related concerns.
Airport noise is any noise created by an aircraft taking off, landing, overflying, and taxiing on the ground.
Modern aircraft have become much quieter over the last two decades. The largest business jet operating at Centennial is remarkably quieter than one of the smallest.
Aircraft are categorized by the amount of noise they make. The loudest are called Stage I and State II, which will be banned from Centennial by 2015. Stage III and Stage IV aircraft are the quietest. Many aircraft at Centennial meet Stage III requirements and some even meet Stage IV standards. (Top)