The Laurel Foundation, which focuses on supporting programs that offer long-term benefits for participants and the community by providing charitable grants for nonprofit organizations in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, has gifted $50,000 to the CCBC Foundation to assist the College with purchasing a new, high-quality Redbird MCX flight simulator for the School of Aviation Sciences.

     “The CCBC School of Aviation Sciences relates directly to the mission of the Laurel Foundation in promoting vocational education in southwestern Pennsylvania, especially with respect to high impact, STEM-related career pathways,” said Executive Director Dayton Baker. 

     “We are grateful to the Laurel Foundation for their generous support of CCBC’s nationally recognized aviation programs and our students,” said CCBC President Chris Reber. “The gift will help the College provide state-of-the -art, hands-on training that inspires more students of all ages to pursue aviation careers.”

     The Redbird MCX flight simulator provides an enhanced training environment for both students and instructors.  Maneuvers can be demonstrated by the flight instructor and performed by the student due to the dual control-loading yoke system and dual rudder pedals for simultaneous pilot and copilot control.  The simulator also incorporates wrap-around visuals and quick-change cockpit configurations.  

     “The Redbird flight simulator is the first full motion simulator to be used at CCBC and a perfect training device for students learning how to fly.  The simulator allows the student to rehearse a scenario until they fully comprehend what they are being taught and learn how to react to challenges before they are faced with them in the air,” said Captain Dana Donati, Dean of the School of Aviation Sciences. 

     The Laurel Foundation grant will ensure that what is being taught in CCBC’s classrooms and labs directly aligns with aviation industry standards and workforce needs, and leads to long-term benefits for the students, the College and its partners, surrounding communities, and the nation. 

     CCBC’s School of Aviation Sciences offers associate degree programs in aerospace management, air traffic control, professional pilot, and unmanned aerial vehicles as well as an aviation instructor certificate program and an Aviation Academy for high school students. 

     CCBC’s nationally distinctive Aviation Academy is accessible to students in all 14 Beaver County high schools, 12 Allegheny County school districts, and 13 additional school districts throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

     The Aviation Academy provides high school students the opportunity to graduate high school with up to 30 college credits, earn a Private Pilot Certification, and explore the aviation career fields of professional pilot, air traffic control, and unmanned aerial vehicles. For many students, CCBC’s Aviation Academy is the first step towards a lucrative career in aviation with low tuition costs, quality training, and dedicated instructors.

     “Flight simulation allows students to gain valuable aviation experience and is usually their first significant introduction to flying, which often creates a passion for aviation careers that are in high-demand nationally,” said Captain Donati.  “The Redbird simulator is an excellent training device bridging the gap between the classroom and the airplane, and we thank the Laurel Foundation for helping to make it happen.”

To learn more about aviation programs at CCBC, visit



CCBC Aviation Instructor Captain Carmen Romeo launches the Redbird MCX flight simulator for the first time at the Aviation Sciences Center. Maneuvers can be demonstrated by the flight instructor and performed by the student simultaneously with wrap-around visuals and quick-change cockpit configurations.