Multi-Platinum selling singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley has been named an honorary co-chairman of the AOPA Foundation’s Hat in The Ring Society. The country singer, who earned his private pilot certificate when he was 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 superior World War I fighter squadron led by legendary ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. The Hat in the Ring Society is comprised of philanthropist-pilots who “throw their hats in the ring” with charitable donations. These pilots join together under the Hat in the Ring banner because they believe that general aviation is a cause worth fighting for.
With that same “first to fight” spirit, Hat in the Ring Society members provide critical 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 leading 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 champion Michael Goulian, and comedian Dave Coulier.
Bentley’s critically acclaimed No. 1 album "Riser," which People magazine said has "elevated him above the rest of the country pack," includes three consecutive No. 1 hits. Bentley is scheduled to play at the opening night concert at EAA’s 2015 AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 20. The Monday evening show is free to AirVenture attendees. Bentley will launch his 40-city “Sounds of Summer Tour” June 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina. For a full list of upcoming tour dates and appearances, the Dierks Bentley website.