Sentimental Journeys DC-3 Charter Service
Don Elmore, President of Appalachian Flying Service in Bluefield, West Virginia, purchased DC-3 N97H (Mfg. Serial No. 33613) in 1983 for use in a luxury air charter service known as "Sentimental Journeys." Sentimental Journeys provided luxurious nostalgic air transportation to charter groups 1983 - 1985. The SJ DC-3 also visited many air shows during its career at AFS. In December, 1985, N97H was the centerpiece for the National Aeronautics Association's Wright Memorial Dinner at Page Avjet's Dulles complex. An entire hangar was transformed into a splendid dining facility with 97H gleaming above such dignitaries as George and Barbara Bush, William Shatner, Neil Armstrong, Senator John Warner, Charlie Gates, many other aviation notables, and of course the Sentimental Journeys crew. The occasion was the annual NAA awards and celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the rollout of the Douglas DC-3. Operations were discontinued in 1986 due to the exorbitant cost of insuring a vintage airliner in charter service. In 1988 N97H was sold to Otis Spunkmeyer Cookie Company to use for Bay Area tours out of Oakland, California. N97H was sold in March 1999 to Jim Gabbert (owner of television station KOFY Channel 20 in San Francisco). It was later sold to the Vintage Aviation Museum in Haywood, CA (outside of San Francisco). N97H was purchased by Cas Ltd, Swanton, VT, in 2012. In 2013 the N97H registration was canceled and the aircraft exported to the Russian Federation.
N97H was built in 1945 and has seen only corporate/private use; at the time of sale to Otis Spunkmeyer she had a mere 8,900 hours logged on her airframe making her the second-lowest timed DC-3 in the world.