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New Program Helps Student Pilots Take Flight

Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy has partnered with the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) to create a Professional Pilot associate’s degree program. Please contact us for details about this remarkable opportunity for career-oriented student pilots! Program highlights include:

  • Fly with us at KLBE (Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe) and earn your Private, Instrument, Commercial, Multi-engine, and CFI Certificates/Ratings!
  • Take CCBC’s virtual/online classes from KLBE or home to earn your degree!
  • This course is eligible for the Restricted ATP certificate which can be earned at only 1,250 flight hours!
  • All eligible Pennsylvania residents can receive an aeronautical scholarship equal to approximately $60 per flight hour flown, paying approximately one-third of all your flight training costs!




If you’re looking to become a commercial or private pilot, or like to fly as a hobby, Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy (LHAA) is the ideal place to train. Our Part 141 and Part 61 school uses Gleim® Aviation training materials and is housed in a modern FBO at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE) in Latrobe, PA. 

From this facility, you can maximize your classroom and simulator training, as well as time in the sky by operating a wide range of Cessna, Mooney, and Beechcraft airplanes that are highly forgiving of pilots who are learning to master the art and science of flying. 

Our experienced flight instructors each have thousands of hours of flight instruction time to their credit and our students, ranging in age from teen-agers to senior citizens, have high pass rates and scores. 

Whether you’re looking to build a career or occupy your leisure time with an exciting diversion, LHAA is the place for you.

To learn more, call 724.539.4533 or fill out the form below.


We offer flight training that complies with Part 141 and Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Administration Code of Regulations. Therefore, our flight school is perfectly suited to a full-time student whose goal is a professional career. It also offers the flexibility needed for a part-time student whose goal is to earn a private pilot certificate.

To provide superior classroom training materials at a reasonable cost, we have partnered with Gleim Aviation. Our pilot training courses provide individuals the opportunity to earn any level of certification they desire. Our selection of classes consists of Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate, Commercial Pilot, Instrument Rating, Private Pilot, Multi-Engine Rating, and Tailwheel or Complex Endorsement. We also offer a selection of aviation business, aircraft ownership, and advanced aircraft systems classes on-demand.

Course Descriptions

Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate – Allows the pilot to train private, commercial, and instrument-rated pilots. Completion times vary.

Commercial Pilot – Allows the pilot to receive compensation for flying. Completion times vary.

Complex Endorsement – Allows the pilot to fly complex aircraft that features flaps, a controllable pitch propeller, and retractable landing gear. Completion time is typically a few weeks and a few flight hours.

Instrument Rating – Allows a private pilot to operate an aircraft under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) in marginal weather conditions in which the pilot is unable to maintain a visual reference outside of the aircraft. To complete this training, the pilot must demonstrate the ability to use the aircraft’s instruments to fly and navigate. Completion time ranges from 6 to 12 months and requires 40 flight hours.

Multi-Engine Rating – Allows the pilot to fly a multi-engine aircraft. Typical completion time is one month and requires 10-15 flight hours.

Private Pilot — Allows an individual to operate an aircraft under visual meteorological conditions (VFR) while maintaining a visual reference outside of the aircraft. A Private Pilot is not allowed to receive compensation for his or her flying. These limitations are the only ones. A Private Pilot can fly almost any aircraft, anywhere, at any time. To complete this training, the Pilot must demonstrate satisfactory performance on a series of examinations. Completion time ranges from 6 to 12 months and requires a minimum of 40 flight hours.

Tailwheel Endorsement – Allows the pilot to fly tailwheel aircraft. Completion time is usually a few weeks and requires several flight hours.

At Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy, learning to fly is easy! All you need is a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, or a U.S. birth certificate. (International students must be cleared by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to begin training.)

After a student provides those documents, he or she will be placed in our Flight Circle online aircraft and instructor scheduling program that allows students to reserve aircraft and arrange for instruction. Flight Circle also serves as a portal for students and instructors.


LHAA Left Quote
Learning to fly has been a dream for many years. Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy made the process simple and unintimidating….Both the ground school and in-the-air instruction have been top notch. Equipment is well-maintained, and I feel safe flying here. Jim and the rest of the staff have been nothing short of fantastic….

Josh Poponick

LHAA Left Quote
Flying at LHAA has been an experience that far exceeds the bounds of any school or business….These people really want to see you succeed as a pilot and genuinely will do anything to aid you in your training. If you’re considering flying and are on the fence of where to begin, start here. It’s authentic, and everyone involved is here because they love to fly. What else could you ask for?

Mikayla Strane

LHAA Left Quote
I have been flying with LHAA as a private pilot for over a year and have found their organization extremely accommodating to my flying preferences. LHAA has a nice variety of aircraft which they maintain in very good shape, a host of highly qualified instructors, a superb scheduling system, a fair pricing structure, and a staff of outstanding administrative and service personnel. I enjoy every flight I complete and plan to expand my experience into multiengine and tailwheel aircraft as the opportunity permits.

Alan Bobko


A Flight School & Much More

Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy (LHAA) is a full-service Part 61 and Part 141 flight school. LHAA is conveniently located at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE) in Latrobe, PA, and is part of the Laurel Highlands Jet Center (LHJC)/Vee Neal Aviation Group, which has been in business for more than 50 years.

LHJC is a fixed-base operator (FBO) that specializes in all aspects of aeronautical business, including a Part 135 charter jet service for sightseeing, aerial photography, regional trips, gender reveals, and more, as well as operation of a Part 145 service center.

Our diverse fleet of training aircraft includes the Cessna 172, its complex counterpart, the Cessna 172RG, a Beechcraft Travel Air for multi-engine training, and a full-motion Redbird flight simulator.

Our experienced team of certified flight instructors and ground instructors can help students meet their certification requirements on personalized schedules. As a Gleim Aviation partner, we affordably provide the most comprehensive training materials and have a pilot shop that stocks a rage of accessories.

Besides offering lessons, we provide private aircraft rentals that may be used for weekend getaways, dinner dates at airport fly-in restaurants, and family sightseeing adventures.

Jim R Arnold

James R. (Jim) Arnold is the school administrator at Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy (LHAA). Jim started flying in the late 1990s and solidified his affection for aviation by attending the esteemed aviation college, Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH. At that campus he earned a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management- FBO Operations and an Associate’s Degree in Aviation Operations – Professional Pilot.

Jim left the aviation industry for a number of years to pursue a career as a petroleum pipeline technician/engineer while maintaining his love for aviation by owning and piloting his own private aircraft. He returned to Vee Neal Aviation full-time in 2019 to build from the ground up a flight school that would eventually become LHAA.

While serving as administrator of LHAA, Jim also teaches many of the ground school classes as an Advanced Ground Instructor and all aviation business courses. He serves as the medium of communication between the FAA, the business, the flight instructors, and the students. Jim is also the primary contact for flight school inquires and interactions.

“Aviation is life… without flying… what’s the point?” In his free time, Jim continues to pilot his own aircraft and many others throughout the Northeast. He is willing to assist you in your aviation goals in any way he can. Your success is his career!

To learn more about LHAA…
Contact Jim

Bill C. Hoffman
Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy (LHAA) welcomes its NEW chief instructor, John F. Masters.

John was previously a check pilot with the Academy who recently moved into the position of chief instructor.

He comes from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, where he excelled as a fixed-wing and rotary-wing pilot. John is also highly trained in aerobatics and upset recovery.

Since leaving the service, John’s flying experience has included such “romantic” aircraft as the Learjet, Gulfstream series, Citation series, King Airs and Merlins. He has also flown the famously rare Hansa and Corvette jets! Over the course of his career, John has amassed over 23,000 flight hours.

He is currently available for Private, Instrument, and Commercial Part 141 stage checks at LHAA. John is also a certified multi-engine instructor (MEI) in our Beechcraft Travel Air.

If you are preparing for a stage check or would like to fly the Travel Air, please give John a call or schedule him through your primary instructor.

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