Dave "Bio" Baranek

Dave Baranek was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and loved airplanes from an early age: he drew pictures of jet fighters and built scale model airplane kits. In his early teens he set his sights on becoming a fighter pilot. His eyesight deteriorated in college so he would not be able to qualify as a pilot, but the Navy was introducing a new fighter, the F-14 Tomcat, which had a second seat for a radar intercept officer - a RIO - who did not require 20/20 vision. Dave shifted his goal to becoming a RIO. He received his Wings of Gold as a RIO in 1980, then completed training for the F-14, and joined his first fighter squadron in April 1981. He was based at NAS Miramar in San Diego and deployed to the Pacific and Indian oceans. Shortly after joining VF-24 he received the callsign "Bio," which his former squadronmates still call him. TOPGUN DAYS recounts Bio's experiences, growth, and flying adventures, in that squadron and as an instructor at the Navy's famous Topgun school. Bio survives a life-or-death ejection when his F-14 crashes during a landing mishap on an aircraft carrier and enjoys success as a student in the Topgun class. He is selected to return to Topgun as an instructor, where more great flying and personal challenges awaited. While serving as a Topgun air-to-air combat instructor in 1985, Bio flies aerial sequences used in the film "Top Gun," starring Tom Cruise. He also serves as a dialogue advisor on the project and takes some of the few available photographs of the movie's black F-5 fighters in flight. TOPGUN DAYS includes more than fifty exciting photographs. To provide the back-story of his Naval Aviation training, Bio wrote BEFORE TOPGUN DAYS. This tells how the Navy took a college graduate and turned him into a fighter RIO and prepared him to be a Topgun instructor. It also has more than 50 photos. Bio's most recent book is TOMCAT RIO, which continues his exciting aviation career with face-offs against Iranian forces in the 1980s, combat air patrols above hostile Iraq in the 1990s, and command of an F-14 Tomcat squadron of 300 people. It includes some of his favorite stories and photographs, and is printed on larger paper (8 x 10.5 inches), so the photos look great. Bio enjoyed a successful and satisfying 20-year career in the Navy. He retired from the Navy in 1999, and works as a defense contractor. He is married and lives in Florida's Space Coast. You can read more about him at www.TopgunBio.com. Contact Bio about speaking to your group at Bio@topgunbio.com. His presentations have been well-received by professional groups, defense contractors, aviation enthusiasts, and schools. * The story of his callsign: His last name sounds like "bionic," so Dave said that's what he wanted his callsign to be. Bionic didn't sound good on the radio, and it was just a little too cool, so his pilot "John Boy" Alling started calling him Bio and it stuck.
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