Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
|Location||Lower Township, New Jersey|
The Cape May Airport, which hosts the museum, was originally constructed by the U.S. Navy from 1941-1942. Commissioned in April 1943 as Naval Air Station Rio Grande, the field was so named due to its proximity to the community of Rio Grande, New Jersey. Due to problems with mail, telegram and telephone service, caused in part by confusion with Rio Grande City, Texas, the Navy opted to rename the airfield as Naval Air Station Wildwood in June 1943. The air station remained in operation as an active naval installation throughout World War II, primarily focused on training operations for Naval Aviators and enlisted Naval Aircrewmen in dive bomber, torpedo bomber and fighter aircraft. Following the end of World War II, the airfield was declared excess to military requirements and was converted to a civilian airport.
The museum is located in the airport's Hangar #1, which is typical of the design of many U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps aircraft hangars of the 1940s, many of which are still in use today at both active Naval Air Stations, Marine Corps Air Stations and Coast Guard Air Stations across the United States, as well as other civilian airports that formerly served as air stations. The museum's hangar is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum's aircraft collection focuses on World War II, when the U.S. Navy conducted training operations at the site, but also includes more recent vintage military aircraft from the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the post-Cold War period, several of which are on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida.
Aircraft on display
The museum's collection includes:
- Northrop F-5E Tiger II
- Grumman F-14 Tomcat
- General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
- Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard helicopter
- Bell AH-1 Cobra
- Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
- North American T-28C Trojan
- Douglas A-4 Skyhawk in Blue Angels colors
- Hughes OH-6 Cayuse helicopter
- Cessna OE-2/L-19 Bird Dog
- UH-1M Huey helicopter - 2
- Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star jet trainers - 2
- Bell 47/H-13
- McCulloch J-2 gyrocopter
- Air & Space 18A gyrocopter
- V-2 rocket
- Boeing-Stearman PT-17 Kaydet - 2
- Grumman TBM-3E Avenger
- Vultee BT-13 Valiant WW II Trainer
- "NASW Aviation Museum site". Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Cape May County" (PDF). NJ DEP - Historic Preservation Office. January 10, 2010. p. 12. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
- "Exhibits page of NASW AV site". Retrieved 2009-08-30.