I found Topgun Days to be a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable insight into the life of a naval flight officer.
What I think drew me in the most - aside from the author's down-to-earth manner - is that Mr. Baranek shows not only the "upside", but the day-to-day things as well. What also drew me in to Mr. Baranek's story is that he shows the learning process involved so the story is not all about what went right, but what could (and did) go wrong, and how he learned and improved from both.
I also enjoyed the glimpse into how the instructors at the Fighter Weapons School were involved when the movie Top Gun was made.
Great read and great insight!
Dave Baranek (callsign "Bio") was one of 451 young men to receive his Wings of Gold in 1980 as a naval flight officer. Four years later, seasoned by intense training and deployments in the tense confrontations of the cold war, he became the only one of that initial group to rise to become an instructor at the navy's elite Fighter Weapons School. As a Topgun instructor, Bio was responsible for teaching the navy's and Marine Corps's best fighter pilots how to be even better. He schooled them in the classroom and then went head-to-head with them in the skies.
Then, in August 1985, Bio was assigned to combine his day-to-day flight duties with participation in a Pentagon-blessed project to film action footage for a major Hollywood movie focusing on the lives, loves, heartbreaks, and triumphs of young fighter pilots: Top Gun.
Bio soon found himself riding in limousines to attend gala premieres, and being singled out by giggling teenagers and awed schoolboys who recognized the name "Topgun" on his T-shirts. The book ends with his reflections on his career as a skilled naval aviator and his enduring love of flight. 50 color photographs.