November 17, 2020
[39:00] Flying in a Grumman F14 Tomcat, a supersonic fighter aircraft at over 1500 mph (almost 2500 kph) in the middle of a conflict can certainly put one's communication and leadership skills to the ultimate test. A split second action, reaction or decision can mean the difference between life and death. It also makes for a great movie and we all know and love as Top Gun staring a very young Tom Cruise (a.k.a Maverick).
In this exciting and lighthearted episode Greg speaks with Dave "Bio" Baranek, former TopGun Flight Instructor, F-14 RIO (Radar Intercept Officer), TopGun Instructor and Squadron Commander. Bio shares his insights, stories, lessons and experiences, many taken from his new book, TomCAT Rio: A Topgun Instructor on the F-14 Tomcat and the Heroic Naval Aviators Who Flew It. He also contrasts it from his two previous books, Top Gun Days & Before Top Gun Days.
Top Gun fans will not be disappointed. You'll hear a little about the movie where as a young TopGun instructor, Bio and his colleagues acted as consultants on the film and actually flew in the planes. He'll contrast what really happened to Goose (Anthony Edwards) in the movie; how it was written for Hollywood and how it can happen and be avoided in the real world.
Bio tells great stories that offer up a number of life and leadership lessons that can apply to anyone. He also opens up about some of his challenges, sharing how he handled the real life "Danger Zone," mistakes he and others made and how had to learn to deal with what he referred to as his "Deadly Foe," called complacency...and more.
Dave “Bio” Baranek retired from the United States Navy in 1999 after successful and satisfying twenty-year career. He's now a defence contractor and author living in Satellite Beach, Florida. To get his bio and more about Bio, see more pictures or read more flying stories, visit www.TopgunBio.com.
TomCAT Rio is published by Skyhorse Publishing (208 pages including: large pictures and a 10-page glossary). It's available as a hard cover or Kindle e-book. You can find it along with Baranek's other books on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
PS. If you end up having Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone spinning in your head as you listen to the interview, don't fret, it's happened to all of us.
Headshot photo credit: Nicki Hovanec