This is a depiction of Perry Stokes airport (ICAO: KTAD) northeast of Trinidad, CO. I am of the belief that it does not exist.
Apparently this place is hard to find. Many a student pass it by, never seeing its runways. Sure, you can find it on the Sectional (as you can plainly see), there are references to it all over the intertubes, it’s in the Airport Directory, hell, I even saw it on Google Maps. You can even call the numbers and someone will answer the phone. But I’m telling you, this place is fictional. There is no airport in Trinidad.
You see, there I was, cruising along at a blazing 115 knots of true airspeed, determined to do a touch and go landing at the very airport depicted. It was a test of my navigation skillz, of which they are considerable. There is no NAVAID at the airport, the rotating beacon was not functional, my aircraft was not equipped with a Non-Directional Beacon and I just too damn proud to pull out my phone and try for a GPS signal. The only way to find it… good old fashioned dead reckoning navigation. Welcome to my wheel house.
I started at the Tobe VOR (TBE: 111.2, Lat/Long: 37-15-31.167N / 103-36-00.201W) and set outbound on the 258 radial for exactly 18 minutes at my ridiculously fast airspeed of 115 knots. I had a known location, throw in time + distance + heading and let the physics work itself out. I had calculated the winds several times already and I was confident they were correct. With my wind calculation in place, all there was to do was to fly to the airport. I even had a backup. The place was on a big road, the only road between Tobe and Trinidad. If I hit the road before I found the airport, then I went too far.
15 minutes on my heading at my speed and booyah, there it is, right on the road as planned. That wasn’t such a chore. I start a descent and make some radio calls. I don’t have any info on the surface winds so I don’t know what runway to use. My plan is to overfly the field and take a gander at the wind sock. I make some more calls on the radio, and start my run.
As I overflew the field, I realized that this was a rail yard, not an airport.
25 minutes and 5 patterns up and down that road and still no damn airport. Ok, swallow your pride and get on the radio. I call up Denver Center and ask where the hell is Trinidad? They told me that I was right over top of it, and that I had overflown it twice. What the hell. I stood the plane on a wingtip and I’m staring at nothing but dirt. Again I go up and down that road for 10 minutes in both directions. There is no airport. Screw it, out comes the phone and the damn GPS tells me that I’m here. But where the hell is here?
Like the Lost City of Zinj. Like it was part of some X-Files conspiracy theory. Perhaps it was to be the site of an alien invasion and to save the human race, the future humans went back in time to wipe it off the earth, but conveniently forgot to take it off the internet or the charts in hopes of luring the aliens into a diabolical trap.
As Doc Brown would say: Erased… from existence.
Or perhaps, Admiral Akbar: It’s a trap!
It had to be that, or I’m not nearly as good a Navigator as I think I am. I’m going with the alien thing.