Dec. 2, 2020

The centerpiece of opening day of the NBAA GO Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (VBACE) was an engaging and energetic presentation by acclaimed country music singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley, who discussed with NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen the importance of business aviation in helping him remain connected with family and others throughout his career.

“I’m going to talk about business aviation because we really use it,” Bentley said in a session sponsored by Textron Aviation. “I don’t know how we could use it any more fully than we do… Wherever I can lean in to make sure that we don’t lose what’s so great about business aviation, I’m always going be there to take that call.”

Bentley last spoke at NBAA’s annual gathering in 2015, at which time he flew a Cirrus SR22. He since moved to a Cessna Citation M2 light jet and, most recently, a larger Citation CJ4, able to carry more passengers, including band members who “swore they’d never fly before,” he said. “Once they got a taste of getting home, not having to be gone all the time… they’ve all started flying with me.”

Earlier this year, Bentley and his team flew back to Nashville’s John C. Tune Airport (JWN) just ahead of a tornado that later devastated the field. “It was like flying through alligator teeth,” he said. “We swung around and landed at Tune, and I told the guys to put [the jet] in the hangar because there’s obviously some weather coming in. Hour and a half later, the hangar was gone, the whole airport was gone.”

Bentley capped the presentation by performing three songs with bandmates Dan Hochhalter and Ben Helson, beginning with his most recent hit “Gone,” which he introduced by saying, “right now, things I love are gone, touring is gone. But hopefully by the summer I’ll be gone in a different way, bouncing from city to city, playing shows and flying a lot” That was followed by “I Hold On” and “Riser,” another resonant message for a resilient industry managing throughout difficult times.

“Hopefully, we’ll get to do this again soon in person,” Bentley concluded. “We’re all gonna be rising again, flying and getting back out there and seeing our friends and family in person once we get past all this craziness.”