Air traffic control towers are extremely important features at airports around the world. These elevated structures are used for the visual observation and control of the air and ground traffic at an airport - which as you can imagine, gets incredibly complicated and hectic at times.

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To have unobstructed views of the entire airport and all of the runways, ATC towers must stand high above the ground. Their placement and height are determined on a site-by-site basis by the FAA.

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Although ATC towers are sometimes the tallest structure within a state, they are not ranked among a city's tallest buildings. Rather, they fall under the category of "telecommunications/observation tower" since they do not meet the criteria of having at least 50 percent of their height as occupiable space.

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At 327 feet, the air traffic control tower at Denver International Airport is one of the tallest in the nation. Only nine other airport towers across the country are higher than the massive structure that stands at DIA.

By Rschider - Own work, Public Domain,
By Rschider - Own work, Public Domain,

A mountainous 548 stairs lead to the top of the tower, but most airport employees recommend taking the elevator instead. The view of the Rocky Mountains from the top is unbeatable!

Denver's ATC tower is ranked as a Level 12. Facility levels range from 4 to 12 based on the amount and complexity of traffic it controls. Based on DIA's ranking, controlling air traffic in the Mile High City is not easy!

Denver's ATC tower was constructed in 1995, the same year that DIA was built. When it comes to building big things, DIA did it well! With a length of 16,000 feet, Denver International Airport is also home to the longest public-use runway in North America.

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Gallery Credit: Kelsey Nistel

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