Summer 2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of the movie Top Gun, and for those of us who watched its premier, we can remember fantasizing about flying an F-16 with Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and Tom Skerritt. But Dave “Bio” Baranek didn’t have to fantasize, he actually performed the deadly aerial maneuvers that made “Maverick,” “Iceman” and “Viper” household names.
“From catapult shot to the red carpet, this book delivers.”
- Kai Ryssdal, Former Naval Flight Officer host of NPR Marketplace
“Dave ‘Bio’ Baranek brings ‘real world’ experience and an edgy writing talent to the high-speed, high-G world of air warfare in the carrier-based F-14 Tomcat”
- Robert F. Dorr, author of Mission to Berlin
Bio was one of 451 young men to become a Navy Flight Officer in 1980 and the only one that year to become a much-feared-and-respected Topgun instructor; an honor awarded only to the “best of the best.” So when Hollywood green-lighted an obscure script for a movie about the elite Naval Fighter Weapons School (aka Topgun), they knocked on Bio’s door, and the rest is history. Top Gun the movie quickly became an out-of-nowhere, runaway blockbuster that earned $353 million worldwide, catapulted Tom Cruise into superstardom, and made American fighter pilots a cultural icon.
In his memoir TopGun Days, Bio not only takes the reader into the cockpit during the breathtaking aerial moves that made the movie great, he gives an inside view of people that make Topgun the best fighter training school in the world. Bio recalls the experience of being (what he terms) a “regular guy” who was thrown into the whirlwind of Hollywood, from gala premiers and celebrity sightings, to world renown and screaming teens. More than just a movie homage, Bio’s story offers:
• A Story of Perseverance -- how he overcame airsickness during dynamic maneuvering in flight training.
• First Person Faceoffs in the air at 700 MPH!
• A Cold War Perspective - aerial missions to neutralize Soviet bomber threats.
• Life-or-death adventure -- how he survived a split-second ejection from a crashing F-14.
• Tidbits - How Topgun students receive their call-signs -- “Bio” is short for bionic, which rhymes with Baranek, Dave’s last name.
• The first takes of Top Gun—which had to be redone because they were inaccurate or improbable—to wrapping day.
• Bio’s first time being spotted by giggling teenage girls during the making of the movie.
• Dozens of full-color photos of Bio’s planes, flights in action, Tom Cruise on set, and Hollywood parties, including a picture of Tom Cruise kissing Bio’s wife!
• A glossary of flight terms and important Topgun information.
Written in a style that can only be rendered by a dangerous pilot and a top expert in the field, TopGun Days is not just a fast, fun read, but an experience. Strap yourself into a Navy fighter jet and feel the rush caused by roaring afterburners, supersonic shockwaves, intense G-Forces, and Hollywood glamour. From beginning to end, TopGun Days is quite a ride!!!
About the Author:
Dave "Bio" Baranek enjoyed a successful and satisfying twenty-year career in the United States Navy, starting with assignments to F-14 Tomcat squadrons and later assignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Baranek retired from the Navy in 1999 and now works as a defense contractor in the Washington, D.C., area. He lives in Burke, Virginia. Learn more about Baranek at www.topgunbio.com.
Top Gun Days: Dogfighting, Cheating Death, and Hollywood Glory as One of America's Best Fighter Jocks
By Dave “Bio” Baranek
Skyhorse Publishing Hardcover Original
Skyhorse Publishing Inc.
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