by Dave "Bio" Baranek          

Available in hardcover, softcover, e-book, and audio-book. Check out Amazon Kindle, B&N NOOK, and other e-book retailers.

NEW: a one-hour video discussion of fighter tactics and training, with details about the F-14 Tomcat, Topgun squadron, and the "Top Gun" movie.

Or, a 5-minute video chat with The Conference Reporter from the recent Seattle Air Show.

Visit Topgun Days on Facebook to see new photos and links. It's a good community where you can ask questions and leave comments. 

For some new thoughts on the evolution of the F-14 Tomcat, tactics, and weapons -- along with flying stories and photos -- check out my recent article on foxtrotalpha. And to learn more about the origin and evolution of the Navy's Topgun squadron, see my essay on how Topgun retained its reputation for excellence and effective training.  

A great publication is now available from Key Publishing, a special AirForces Monthly issue dedicated to the F-14 in the air-to-ground role: "F-14 Bombcat." 100 pages, with first-hand accounts from the crews involved, as well as in-action photographs from both private and official sources. Available at many bookstores and online.

Contact the author:

Navy Topgun Instructors, among the best trained and most respected of all aviators, are not born; they are made through their own determined efforts and the coordinated work of their predecessors. TOPGUN DAYS reveals in exuberant prose how a young man goes from aspirations to realizing his dreams.

Former F-14 radar intercept officer and Topgun instructor Dave Baranek (callsign: Bio) describes the commitment required to first master the mighty F-14 Tomcat fighter, and then the extreme demands placed on instructors once they report to the Topgun school. He goes from being waterboarded in survival training to performing at the highest levels while subjected to six-and-half times the force of gravity during gut-wrenching dogfights. He speaks of the long hours instructors put in to prepare their lectures, and reflects candidly on the untimely deaths of two of his associates in aircraft accidents. He describes his own struggle for his very life after ejecting from a crashing F-14.

TOPGUN DAYS is not only about trial, it is about adventure and triumph. Dave takes readers among the clouds with his vivid accounts of the incredible power and maneuverability these young men harness. The rewards include unforgettable action and the camaraderie of others who he respects. In Dave’s case, the rewards also include a bit of Hollywood fame as he helps to create that well known blockbuster, “Top Gun.”

Director of the Cradle of Aviation Museum introduces author Dave "Bio" Baranek to an enthusiastic crowd, in front of the museum's display of an early F-14 prototype.


  • The news about "Top Gun 2" is more confusing, regarding both Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise. See this article in Rolling Stone.
  • I just learned about a review of Topgun Days in French! Link to review 
  • I recently did a podcast on the Xtended internet radio program: Xtended podcast. It starts with a great overview of F-14 missions and history by Tomcat super-enthusiast Jon Spielgerger, then the Xtended crew asked me some great questions. Here's the 2-minute promo: Xtended promo.
  • Sport pilots: there is a military-style stick grip available for a wide variety of sport aircraft. Visit Infinity Aerospace, owned by friend and VF-24 squadron-mate "JD" Newman. His website is loaded with other interesting information and goodies.
  • If you're fascinated by the F-14 Tomcat's variable geometry wings, you may enjoy these stories.
  • Prints of many aircraft photos from TOPGUN DAYS are now available from Stocktrek Images.

What others are saying about TOPGUN DAYS:

  • ...A near perfect mix of culture and technical detail for the reader to digest. - Tyler Rogoway at Foxtrot Alpha
  • From catapult shot to the red carpet, this book delivers. - Kai Ryssdal, host of public radio's "Marketplace" and former Naval Flight Officer
  • The movie was cool, but the real thing is cooler, isn’t it? ... What I particularly appreciated is how good he is at explaining. ... So I loved how accessible Dave made his world. - Sarah Morgan
  • 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 Tokyo and dozens of other aviation books
  • If you even remotely enjoy naval aviation, fast jets, or just good pilot stories you’ll love Topgun Days! -

Available from:

Representation: Contact the author.