Books by Dave "Bio" Baranek:

TOPGUN DAYS: Dogfighting, Cheating Death, and Hollywood Glory as One of America's Best Fighter Jocks

And the prequel ... BEFORE TOPGUN DAYS: The Making of a Jet Fighter Instructor 

Available in multiple formats, please check out Amazon, B&N, and other retailers.

Book signings: 

  • Sat-Sun, November 9-10, 9:00 am-1:00 pm (approx. times), Valiant Air Command museum, Titusville, FL. Veterans Day Open House: free admission for all FL residents, active military, and veterans.
  • If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement, contact me at

For an overview of how the Topgun school started and what helped it become a legendary institution, see my article in the US Naval Institue's PROCEEDINGS magazine.

For some thoughts on the evolution of the F-14 Tomcat, tactics, and weapons -- along with flying stories and photos -- check out my article on foxtrotalpha. 

Prints of many aircraft photos from TOPGUN DAYS are now available from Stocktrek Images. New photos have recently been added.

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

Contact the author:

TOPGUN DAYS is international! Available in a Japanese translation and a Chinese translation.


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 about trial, 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.”



  • I recently did an interview for the Jacksonville (Florida) Public Library podcast. Interviewers Amanda and Gabby were fun to chat with and asked some different questions. Click here for the website -- I'm interview #15.  
  • The Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) "F-14 Tomcat" by Heatblur has been released. Whether you are into sims or just an aviation enthusiast, you may be interested in these two videos I made to share insights from my aviation experience: Tomcats and Topgun #1 and Tomcats and Topgun #2.
  • Aviation enthusiasts have another new book to get excited about: author and photographer David F. Brown's F-14 Tomcat: Grumman's “Top Gun” from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. In 128 well-planned pages it presents outstanding photography and excellent text that provide a great overview of the Tomcat.
  • Many people are fascinated by the F-14's variable geometry wings. Click the hyperlink for two short stories related to the Tomcat's swing-wings. 
  • If you're a fan of the Tomcat, visit the F-14 Tomcat Association, which helps maintain and support the F-14 community. 
  • 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.

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
  • Written in a style that can only be rendered by a dangerous pilot and a top expert in the field, "TopGun Days" is not just a fast, fun read, but an experience. - Eileen Casey, [Complete review]

Available from:

Representation: Contact the author.