Why it’s in the news
The Air Force One Discovery Center, of which the simulator is the cornerstone, received a Themed Entertainment Association (THEA) Outstanding Achievement Award in Learning Experience. The awards ceremony was held March 7 at a black-tie dinner at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. The simulator was listed in the credits for the Discovery Center’s award.

About the award
The THEA Awards recognize and honor excellence in the creation of outstanding visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. More than 120 nominations were evaluated in order to recommend the current 17 recipients. Winners included Walt Disney World features, Busch Gardens Jungala, the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies and Tokyo DisneySeas’ Legend of Mythica.

About the  center
Students visiting the Air Force One Discovery Center find themselves plunged into realistic replicas of the Oval Office, White House Press Room, MIlitary Station Room and Air Force One. Students are cast as reporters, military leaders, advisors or even the president. Each plays a role in responding to rapidly unfolding crisises that seems all too real, giving them a personal experience of presidential decision making.

About the project
A group of local residents worked on restoring a Boeing 707 flight simulator over the past several years. They recreated it as an Air Force One Simulator. Steve Cannaby, project founder, discovered the simulator in 1999 and they entered into the agreement with the Reagan Library in 2003. The simulator is now housed in the Air Force One Discovery Center, part of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. It also was a part of the Democrat national Convention in 2008, receiving media attention from around the world.

In their own words
The award came as a surprise.
“We thought we were done with it, then we got this,” said Daron Clinesmith, project chair. “To me it’s (the award) priceless. 
“It keeps paying us back. We paid it forward and it’s paid us back 10-fold.”
Cannaby added, “It's a great honor to be able to receive that award. To be up there with the same people and organizers that put together the Olympics and some of the big events of Disney World, and also to be a part of the Reagan team on this thing. It was a long road."