Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

By Laura Herrmann
FAAST Team Lead Rep 

FAAST

Adventures in Bravo Airspace

 

Photo courtesy of Laura Hermann

Approach to 35L.

Recent changes in travel brought about by COVID-19 had put a damper on my planned aviation adventures. A trip to Hawaii in my attempt to land a Cessna in all 50 states canceled. A friend and I were going to fly to Wyoming with a stop in Idaho so I could complete my 50th state was also canceled.

An opportunity to fly a rescued dog to Greeley, Colorado in my C182 became a fun chance to aviate under COVID restrictions. As I contemplated the trip, I had a crazy idea. Why not land at KDEN? (Denver International Airport) Then I needed to figure out how to safely accomplish my first landing at a Bravo airport.

I pulled up the KDEN taxi diagram. What a spiderweb! I listened to Denver Approach and Tower on liveATC.net, followed along on my diagram and drew the clearances. I called Denver Approach for advice. They said we should file IFR, expect radar vectors and would not be given a SID (Standard Instrument Departure). I've always been given a SID on previous trips to Denver airports, so briefed the PLAINS1.AKO transition. A full stop would be required to collect mandatory landing fees.

My friend flew into Greeley, where we were warmly welcomed. After dinner I checked NOTAMs. There were many closed taxiways. I wondered why, and soon found out!

It was a beautiful VFR morning, and we were excited! Familiarity with the Denver area helped my situational awareness as I recognized landmarks. We were given vectors to 35R, and then offered 35L which we accepted as it would be a shorter taxi.

Photo courtesy of Laura Hermann

Terminal with a plane parked at every gate.

The approach was an unforgettable experience. That runway was huge! At 12000'x150' it was definitely the largest I have landed on. Taxiing was uneventful, other than taxiways also seemed huge. Lots of concrete at KDEN!

We were treated like royalty at Signature. As we left the plane, a Southwest jet landed on the runway we just exited. I couldn't wipe the grin off of my face! We paid the $40 landing fee, and had our Signature fee waived by purchasing fuel.

My friend was PIC next. I called for our clearance and was given the expected SID. As we launched, I realized why all the taxiways were closed. The taxiways and one runway were filled with parked planes!

It was a fantastic trip, and a great learning experience. The time spent on preflight planning was well spent, making the trip safe and enjoyable!

 

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