now to my additions to this...
Originally posted by jmilici
Here is a really good site that explains all the oddities. I guarantee you will be shocked.
that site is actually crap. let me break it down for you.
EDIT: everything in quotes below is from the link provided by jmilici.
Even though the area is basically flat (with a stunning view of mountains all around, since it's in a valley), the expense and time was taken to extensively lower some areas and raise others. They moved 110 million cubic yards of earth around. This is about 1/3rd of the amount of earth they moved when they dug out the Panama Canal.
runways have to be level. one major thing is that on such large runways the curvature of the earth does take effect. this happened when detroit metro airport had a new runway built a few years ago. the engineers didn't think of it and when the survey crews came in to make sure everything was correct, they realized it wasn't. so instead of taking out tons and tons of dirt to level everything off, they just added more concrete to the runways. the runways are 2.25 inches thicker at either end than in the middle. also, runways are thick. very thick. they have to support a several hundred ton force when a plane lands and survive for the next thousands of planes.
The airport has a fiber optic communications core made of 5,300 miles of cable. That's longer than the Nile River. That's from New York City to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The airport also has 11,365 miles of copper cable communications network.
and how much of a communications system do places like the sears tower have? or other airports? hmm...
The fueling system can pump 1,000 gallons of jet fuel per minute through a 28-mile network of pipes. There are six fuel hold tanks that each hold 2.73 million gallons of jet fuel. This is somewhere in the "no one will ever ever need this much" range.
actually, that's bull#. it's in the "every airport needs that much fuel." this is especially true for an airport such as denver. a harsh winter could delay fuel supplies, and then you have stranded airplanes for however long... and even worse, stranded passengers and freight. last time i checked something like that would be very bad for business.
the pumps make sense because of the winters as well. if a pipe breaks, freezes, or malfunctions in any way, at any time, you have redundancy.
that goes back to not leaving passengers or freight stranded.
not to mention the fact that airliners use an IMMENSE amount of fuel.
Granite was imported from all over the world - Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America - and used in making the main terminal floor. This is a ridiculous expense, especially when you're already over budget. They say, "The floor pattern echoes the roof design and subtly reinforces passenger flows". Ah...subliminal messages to move your ass. It might look pretty but would any of us know Chilean granite from Chinese granite? Or care? You can dye rock if it's colors you're after. Cheaper rocks. (I wonder what the "stones have power" people say about this...)
again, how is this different from any other major airport or business center?
The huge, main terminal is Jeppesen Terminal, named after Elfrey Jeppesen, who was the first person to create maps specifically for aviation (the company is still in business today). This area is known as the "Great Hall"; it's said this is what the Masons name their meeting place.
It is 900 feet by 210 feet big. This is over 1.5 million square feet of space. All told, there is over 6 million square feet of public space at DIA. The airport brags that they have room to build another terminal and two more concourses and could serve 100 million passengers a year. The airport flew 36 million in 2001.
can anyone think of a better name for a ginormous hall other than "the great hall?" plus, that name has a sound of... well... greatness to it. i'm sure someone did suggest naming it "the hall of large proportions," but that's just cumbersome.
also, last time i checked area is equal to length times width. so 900X210 is more than 1.5 million? hmm... my brain and calculator must both be broken, since i came up with an answer of 189,000 square feet. that's NO WHERE NEAR 1.5 MILLION square feet!
another thing is that they only have the space to build more terminals and concourses. space is a very, very crucial thing to an airport. if they already have the space then they don't need to worry about buying up nearby land in order to expland the airport if they ever need to.
The only way to get to the other two concourses/terminals from the Great Hall, or vice versa, is via the airport's train system.
i've never been there, so i cannot comment on this point. but with the track record of all the other points i'm not going to believe it.
There are more than 19 miles (30 km) of conveyor belt track, luggage transport cars and road in their own underground tunnels that move baggage and goods. They're so huge you can drive trucks through them, and some remain unused.
okay, well i work for UPS. in the distribution center i work at there is over a mile of conveyors. this isn't even a hub or anything, just a distrubution center that services about 6 square miles ypsilanti/ann arbor michigan area. a major airport would have a lot more packages and baggages going through, so it would need more conveyor space.
the underground tunnels make sense too. baggage cars don't move very fast, and one or more crossing a runway or running around the tarmac has the potential to cause delays. this way you go under everything and don't have to worry about that.
The entire roof of DIA is made of 15 acres of Teflon-coated, woven fiber glass. The same material is on the inside as a layer, also. The place looks like a bizarre (but kind of cool) scene out of "Dune", comprised of huge, spiked tent-like structures. The material reflects 90% of the sunlight and doesn't conduct heat. So you can't see into the place with radar or see heat signatures. I added helpfully.
i emboldened that last statement. why? because the author basically admits to hyping all of this up, and more than likely not knowing what the hell he or she is talking about! let me see some actual proof that the roof reflects so much sunlight/heat and that it blocks radars.
sorry jmilici, i wasn't ripping into you on that, just the site. so please don't take it personally. i just cannot stand people saying that that site is a source of "good" information.
[edit on 8/18/2004 by cmdrkeenkid]