Dave "Bio" Baranek was an air-to-air combat instructor at the elite Navy Fighter Weapons School, Topgun. While serving as an instructor in 1985, he had the unusual experience of flying aerial sequences used in the film "Top Gun," starring Tom Cruise and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson. He has written two books about his experiences including Top Gun Days: Dogfighting, Cheating Death, and Hollywood Glory as One of America's Best Fighter Jocks and Before Topgun Days: The Making of a Jet Fighter Instructor.
Dave is one of the few that can be considered to be among the elite Topgun Squadron. He has reached heights not many do, and we interviewed Dave our latest episode of Completely Booked to chat about his action-packed "Topgun Days." You can listen to the podcast episode below:
Dave also served as a dialogue advisor for the film, Top Gun, and took some of the few available photographs of the movie's black F-5 fighters in flight. His stories about Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are great, but his stories about what it was like to actually fly in Navy fighter jets are even better. From dogfight training to ejecting from an aircraft, Dave's lived quite an adventurous life.
Dave enjoyed a successful 20-year career in the Navy, starting with assignments to F-14 Tomcat squadrons and the elite Topgun training program, and later asssignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US 7th Fleet. He has now penned two memoirs, with another on the way. You can meet Dave "Bio" Baranek at the Beaches Branch Reader Con on Saturday, November 16. You can also check out his books here at the library, and on Hoopla!