Airfest, a Magical Cape May Event

Call it Witchcraft. It was the experience of eight intrepid travelers who were transported back in time to World War II.

 But this 67-year-old is not any ordinary sorcerer. Witchcraft is a B-24 bomber that arrived at the Cape May County Airportto appear at the 15th annual Airfest that's sponsored by the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum.

Witchcraft is the world's only fully restored and flying Consolidated B-24J Liberator that each year travels to more than 100 airports around the country as part of the Collings Foundation's "Wings of Freedom" tour. The tour is designed to educate and keep alive the historic achievements of the US Army Air Force and the crews that helped win the Second World War. And for the eight who boarded the aircraft for the approximate 30 minute flight over portions of Cape May County it was a chance to step back in time to relive and experience what American aircrews endured during the thousands of missions flown over Europe, North Africa and the Pacific theaters of war.

With its four roaring 1,000 horsepower engines engaged, Witchcraft taxied to its takeoff position. Once airborne, the aircraft climbed to about 2,500 feet and flew east over the Wildwood's and its expansive beach where passengers could easily spot the sunbathers and swimmers below.

After several turns and passes over the town and the vast wetlands to the west, Witchcraft headed back to the runway where the pilots made a flawless landing.

On the ground Witchcraft strikes an imposing image at just over 67 feet in length, 18 feet high witha 110-foot wing span. But inside the crew stations are cramped with small seating areasand a nine inch catwalk through the bombay that joins the front cabin and the plane's aft section.

In addition to Witchcraft, the Collings Foundation also fielded a B-17 bomber and a P-51 Mustang to round out their visit to Airfest.

Prior to Witchcraft's flight, dozens of visitors to the air show were allowed to enter both bombers to see and feel what the inside of these historic aircraft are like. Along with the Collings Foundation aircraft, the museum had displays of military helicopters, a Navy F-14 Tomcat and dozens of other military displays inside the expansive Hanger 1.

The Wildwood Aviation Museum now boasts more than 26 aircraft displays as well as exhibits of military memorabilia, engines, photographs and more. Additionally, the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia has provided the museum with a wealth of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to discover the science of flight.

The museum also features a library, food vending area as well as a recently expanded gift shop. In its role as a community resource, the museum regularly hosts activities including fly-ins, aviation festivals, big band concerts, swing dances, veterans' ceremonies, historical lectures, school field trips and senior tours. Visit the museum's website for more information.