The country singer, who earned his private pilot’s license at the age of 19, speaks often about how flying has made his busy schedule more flexible.
“My fans know that I practically live on the road,” said Bentley. “So, it’s pretty incredible that I have the ability to wake-up with my family in Nashville and hit a stage across the country the same night. My plane may have two fewer cylinders than my 1994 Chevy truck ‘Big White,’ but she sure gets me there a lot faster!”
“Dierks is passionate about aviation,” said Stephanie Kenyon, vice president of the AOPA Foundation. “He clearly understands that general aviation in America is a national treasure, and because of that, he is the perfect person to lead the way for our Hat in the Ring Society members.”
The Hat in the Ring Society is the AOPA Foundation’s oldest philanthropic giving circle. The name comes from the World War I fighter squadron led by legendary ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker.
Hat in the Ring Society members provide support for the AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute, which provides no-cost safety programs to thousands of pilots each year. Society members also play a role in supporting programs that encourage more people to fly and preserve community airports across the country. They also help fund modest grants to aviation nonprofit organizations that are using aviation to provide assistance to those in need.
Bentley joins other notable Hat in the Ring Society pilots, including actors Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman and Chris Meloni, who all serve as honorary co-chairmen, as well as aviation author Stuart Woods, aerobatic champ Michael Goulian and comedian Dave Coulier.
Bentley also is scheduled to play at the opening night concert at EAA’s 2015 AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisc. on July 20. The Monday evening show is free to AirVenture attendees.