Before Topgun Days – The Making of a Jet Fighter Instructor

Before Topgun Days
236 Pages
ISBN 9781634506557

“Here’s a great read for any aviation enthusiast, and especially for anyone considering a career in Naval Aviation.” —Vice Admiral “Streak” Chanik, USN (Ret.), former F-14 pilot and Topgun instructor

Dave “Bio” Baranek was just another kid with a dream. After college, he joined the Navy to become a fighter pilot. But his eyesight was waning. He knew he would never reach that goal. Undaunted, he plowed ahead and found his niche as a radar intercept operator in the backseat of the sleek new Grumman F-14 Tomcat.

Join Baranek in Before Topgun Days as he takes you along for this greatest, most exciting time of his young life: training to become a naval flight officer. In this prequel to his popular memoir, Topgun Days, Baranek brings to life the anxieties and excitement of the fast-paced world of fighter jocks. Dozens of full-color photos put you right there, in on the action. From a green recruit to an experienced flyer, you’ll discover what it took to become a Topgun instructor – and what it took to land a crippled jet on a rolling, pitching carrier deck!

Dave Baranek

About Dave Baranek (Melbourne, Florida Author)

Dave Baranek

Dave Baranek loved airplanes as a boy and set his sights on flying Navy fighters. He attended Georgia Tech and participated in ROTC.

He wasn’t able to be a pilot because his eyesight wasn’t 20/20, so he became a radar intercept officer (RIO), operating the weapons system in the Navy's F-14 Tomcat fighter. After his first F-14 squadron he was selected as an instructor at the elite Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as Topgun. While serving as an instructor in 1985 he helped make the film "Top Gun."

Dave enjoyed a successful 20-year career in the Navy, including command of an F-14 Tomcat fighter squadron. He retired from the Navy in 1999, and works as a defense contractor. Since retiring he has written three exciting memoirs.

He is married and lives in Satellite Beach, Florida. His website is

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