October 4, 2019
Many people became aware of the Navy Fighter Weapons School as a result of the movie “Top Gun,” which starred the F-14 Tomcat as well as several young actors. Dave Baranek will take you beyond the memorable quotes – “the need for speed” – into the real world of Navy fighter aviation through his personal experiences with roaring afterburners, missile launches, ejecting from his F-14 during a life-or-death carrier landing incident, and Topgun lecture murder boards. He will also discuss the Hollywood version, as he was one of a handful of instructors who helped make the movie. His vivid photographs and dynamic explanations will put you in the cockpit, where the adaptability of the human brain is on display while you skirt the laws of physics. Questions will be welcome.
Dave “Bio” Baranek grew up dreaming of flying jet fighters. He attended Georgia Tech and participated in the ROTC, entering the Navy in 1979. He became a radar intercept officer (RIO), operating the weapons system in the Navy's 2-seat F-14 Tomcat fighter. After several years in an F-14 squadron he was selected to become an aerial combat instructor at the elite Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as Topgun, and helped make the film "Top Gun." He enjoyed a successful 20-year career in the Navy and commanded an F-14 Tomcat fighter squadron, responsible for nearly 300 people and 14 aircraft worth about $700 million. Dave retired from the Navy in 1999. After retiring, he wrote the exciting memoir TOPGUN DAYS, which describes his early flying experiences, and BEFORE TOPGUN DAYS, detailing his experiences in Naval Aviation training. He has also written numerous articles for aviation magazines. He is currently employed as a defense contractor, is married, and lives in Satellite Beach, Florida. His website is www.TopgunBio.com.