In a wide-ranging discussion as the keynote speaker for the opening day of NBAA-VBACE, country singer, songwriter, and pilot Dierks Bentley told NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen why he continues to be an advocate for business aviation. Most recently, Bentley has logged time in a Cessna Citation CJ4, as well as a Cirrus piston single that was destroyed in the March tornado that struck Nashville and John C. Tune Airport, where he kept the airplane.
“For the majority of people, whether they’re flying a jet or a prop plane or whatever, they’re going to work,” Bentley said. “That’s how they get stuff done. And that’s an efficient way to do it. For me personally, my business, and the people I employ, I wouldn’t be able to do it without aviation. I’ve got three kids, a lot going on here back home. I can’t afford to spend 24 hours riding a bus to get somewhere to play a show. I just can’t do that anymore.”
Bentley explained to Bolen that, with the pandemic, he hasn’t been touring so he hasn’t been flying, adding that he’s only current flying a remote-controlled airplane. He and his family have been spending much of their time hiking and biking in the Rocky Mountains during the pandemic. “[We] went out to Colorado to ski and stayed for the Covid,” he explained.
Bentley added, however, that he hopes to start touring—and getting current—again soon.
“As a pilot, you’re only as good as your last flight, [so] you’ve got to stay on top of it,” he told Bolen. “Right now, I’d say my skills are a little bit rusty because I haven’t been flying as much. But when I do get back at it for touring, the first thing I’m going to do is go to one of the TRU or FlightSafety [learning centers] and get fully back into it.”
Bentley said he doesn’t like being pigeonholed as just a country music artist. He noted he’s also a husband, a father, and a pilot. “I think life comes down to playing different roles…and I like to play them all well,” he said.