A Gift from My Father

This is a very long one, so stick with me.

I have said it once before on the forums, my father works at Denver International Airport. He manages the de-icing operations at DIA, so he gets to overwatch the sixth busiest airport in the United States daily. And luckily for me, his job opens us a lot of unique opportunities for me, to be able to get out onto the airport grounds and watch my favorite thing occur on a massive scale. It’s his job that allows me to take great photos from an unknown angle. See a collection here: Shameless self advertisement.


Back to the story. My dad came home from work a few days back with a surprise in the back of his car, and when I opened up the back seat, I was surprised with these two awesome, awesome things:

Part One: An Official Lease Map

On a giant piece of ply wood, there was this, a massive 1:1000 professional scale drawing of Denver International Airport, from 1993.


This map my intended to be used as a reference for the de-icing operations and to for future planning by the airport. It was published by Denver International Airport on March 24th, 1993, exactly 24 years, one day ago as of today. Unfortunately, as a result of the 16 month delay of the opening of Denver International and updates of the airport in that time, it was never used, and had been sitting in the de-icing ops office collecting dust, for 24 years. Here are some more in-depth photos of the airport:

The Jeppsen Terminal and Concourses A, B, and C. This the part of the airport that has seen the most change since its inception in 1993. Today, at the end of the Jeppesen Terminal there is now a Westin Hotel, expanded parking, and two new multi-level parking garages, just to name a few additions. There is also more international gates at A, a regional satellite at B, and C has had a massive expansion.

These are the current 16/34 runways that head south-north. As you can see in the photo, 16R/34L was yet to be finished. It had been outlined by the mappers, by because it was not open for operational use, it was not completely added. It would be completed before the actually delayed opening of the airport in 1995.

These are the two 17/35 runways. Runway 17L/35R is rarely ever used anymore, due to the long taxi and lack of need for it, considering the three other runways going the same direction, closer to the terminal.

Runway 7/25. This runway is most commonly used for departures, as the usual Denver wind is blowing into it. When takeoffs occur here, I’ll get planes over my house at about 8,000 feet. I have never seen a plane land on 25, unlike in IF, where it is the main landing runway.

Runway 8/26. It is often used for landings for cargo and GA. Denver International Airport has big plans for this area by this runway, as you will see in part two of this post.

These are the current maintenance hangar in the north end of the airport. As you can see if you look good, the hangar in the top left says “CAL Hangar”, or Continental Airlines. Nostalgia. Today, the lower hangar is still United and Frontier has leased the old Continental hangar from the city.

On the topic of nostalgia, here is a list of companies that own or lease facilities at DIA back in 1993. A lot of old Airlines you won’t see anymore, such as Continental, Northwest, and Airborne Express, just to name a few. (Click to see full list)

This is the old cargo area. Now it is very similar, but it has been expanded, and some of the operators have changed, such as Airborne Express no longer has any property. Today, it’s dominated by FedEx. Also, if you look very closely, there is a label for “30 Foot Tall Fiberglass Mustang of Death”. It doesn’t actualy say “Of Death”, but it should. It killed it’s sculptor.

Here is a legend, showing all the colors and meaning, map is at 1:1000 scale. Published on March 24th, 1993. If any of you are or know R. Johnson or C. McClure, let them know they did a great job.

Part Two: A Future Plans Map

My father also gave me this, a map with all the future plans of Denver International Airport. It has all the plans for added everything down to the windsock, where and when it is likely to be placed onto the airport. If you recall, a while back, there was a topic about discussing the future of Denver International Airport, where we all shared our thoughts and ideas of what DIA could look like in the future:


Well, it looks as if I may have found the official answer to a lot of our questions.

At first glance, this looks like a big mess, which it is, but there is a code to it. Grey things have already happened, blue things will happen very soon, green things are long term plans. This map was published by Denver in April of 2012, so some of the things on the map have already been built, such as the A-Line and second parking garage.

This is the plan for the Concourses and the Jeppesen Terminal. They have plans to build four more terminals, Concourses D & E, as well as an east and west terminal, which will be placed on either sides of the Jeppesen Terminal. According to my father, they will soon be working on adding more international gates in Concourse A, potentially leading to more international routes. As you can see, they plan to have roads that will lead into the Jeppesen Terminal, making it an airline drive-thru, as well as add more roads and parking garages by Jeppesen, making it even more of a tangled mess. Have a look and try to make sense of it.

There are also plans to make two more runways that run parallel with the current 16/34 runways. These wil be two more to the west of the current runways, one named 15/33 and rename 16R/34L to C and have the new one be L/R. I do not see the point of this.

Planned addition to the 17/35 runways. Just like the 16/34s, they will add to more, named 17/35C and 18/36. Again, I don’t see the point in this. Why have eight parallel runways? I mapped it out, the taxi from the C Concourse to 36 would be 5.35 miles.

There is also a plan to add a parallel runway to 7/25, mainly for cargo, but to also add another departure/arrival runway into the wind. I like this idea, because planes would taxi on a bridge across Peña, similar to Frankfurt or Seattle.

As I said in part one, DIA has big plans for 08/26. As you can see, this runway is blue, which means they plan to add this runway very soon. This would be a good addition, again, to add another runway into the wind. They would also add a new de-icing pad, as well as more hangars.

The cargo apron. This is planned to expand very soon, and I know part of it already has. Sadly, there is not future plans to get rid of the “30 Foot Tall Fiberglass Mustang of Death”.

This is a key to all the building on the airport, if you are crazy enough to zoom in and look hard, as well as a simplified version of the planned added runways and terminals.

A legend, showing what the colors mean in relation to time.

And finally, the two crests of Denver International Airport, the top from 1993, and the bottom from 2012, and is still current.

This one was a big one, but it contained a lot of interesting photos, and most importantly, the maps. Both of these maps were both officially published by Denver International Airport, and I thought that they were neat, so I thought that they must be shared. I am thankful to be in this position to be able to do stuff like this, and it feels only right to share it with you guys. If you have any questions or want to see more photos, don’t be afraid to ask. Also, point out typos, I know some slipped by.

87 Likes

This is pretty sweet!

10 Likes

Wow! Your really lucky!

5 Likes

10 Runways? Jesus Christ. These are awesome.

7 Likes

12, actually, 8 going the same direction. Pretty ridiculous, if you ask me. Sounds like a big waste of money.

4 Likes

The amount of people airborne at anyone time is expected to double in the next 10 years so this is gonna be necessary to keep up with demand. We think just now it’s a lot but in 10 years we’ll think that’s hardly any!

3 Likes

I guess thats what Denver thinks too, they must be anticipating a mass increase of people who want to come here. That makes me wonder about a place like Heathrow, with only two runways, and no room to expand.

2 Likes

Amazing! May I ask how long it took you to make this topic? Very interesting :)

2 Likes

Too much time. I also had to retake all the photos, because of the max 3072 KB photo size limit.

1 Like

Should be coming out that way for a summer from Scotland to see my cousin in a few years between the end of school and the start of University or College to you Yanks

2 Likes

A beautiful place, Denver is. Rockies are a sight to see. Won’t be anything special though if you’re coming from Scotland, however.

2 Likes

Wow, these are magnificent! Thanks for sharing this with us.

@SkyHighGuys would be interested in this, for sure.

4 Likes

Well, I’ve never been to a city in the sand and it’s a bit warmer that’s Scotland. But we do have great landscapes further North :)

2 Likes

He’ll be drooling on to his device

1 Like

I figured i’ll be giving all fellow Denverites a treat with this one.

1 Like

What a great dad! Hope I had a dad like yours

1 Like

I was expecting to see ‘My very own private A320 simulator’ lmao

13 Likes

I’m not sure that I want to be that lucky…

1 Like

Note: this is an awesome topic. Nice read too. If only all RWA could be like this 😉

16 Likes

That’s some serious work right there thnx man and ur dad is the best …

1 Like