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Did the F-14 Tomcat Have Flight Controls in the Rear Cockpit?

This has to be one of the most common questions heard by former F-14 Radar Intercept Officers (RIOs). RIOs were the back-seaters who operated the F-14’s weapon system, were responsible for communication and navigation, and performed other aircrew duties. During a radar intercept the RIO directed the pilot, so he was “verbally flying” the aircraft.…
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Tomcat RIO by Dave “Bio” Baranek

“Tomcat RIO” is the latest book to be written by former USN F-14 Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Dave Baranek. In his new book, Bio regales us with more tales of Naval Aviation adventures and excitement, and goes more into the personalities and misadventures he experienced. From Topgun to Squadron Command You’re in the cockpit…
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The Elevator Scene In Top Gun

Written by Dave “Bio” Baranek There are many technical and production details from “Top Gun.” A friend recently asked me about the Navy captain in the elevator scene. It begins around the 48-minute mark on my DVD copy: Maverick and Charlie in an elevator, a Navy captain enters. Who is the captain? Was he a…
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Last Full Measure of Devotion

This Monday is the observance of Memorial Day. For those of us who served and those who have family who served, it is a day we set aside for the intended purpose: to pass some time in remembrance of the ones we knew and loved who perished while in service to their country. For me,…
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My First Flight In An F-16: The World’s Greatest Roller Coaster

By Mitchell Boling Adapted from his book, “Leadership: A View From The Middle” Copyright (C) 2019. Reprinted with Permission. I had been a member of the U.S. Air Force for only sixteen months when I was fortunate enough to be taken for a flight in the back seat of an F-16 fighter aircraft. A twenty-one-year-old…
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What Does An F-14 Tomcat RIO Do?

The team from DCSNZA hosted Dave “Bio” Baranek for a live streaming event earlier today. Dave spend time talking about what the RIO (radar intercept officer) did in the F-14 (a great insight into that world) and then he took to the virtual skies with the DCSNZA team in the Heatblur F-14 Tomcat, tanked with…
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The McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom’s Service in Australia

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operated 24 McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II fighter-bomber aircraft in the ground attack role between 1970 and 1973. The Phantoms were leased from the United States Air Force (USAF) as an interim measure owing to delays in the delivery of the RAAF’s 24 General Dynamics F-111C bombers. The F-4Es…
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Topgun Principle: If You Leave An Engagement, Don’t Go Back In

Written by Dave “Bio” Baranek One of the principles Topgun taught us was that if you leave an engagement, you should not go back in. There were examples from combat (and other Topgun classes) of fighters becoming engaged and bugging out, and then re-engaging with bad results, such as being shot down. On a 4vUNK…
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Paco Chierici Flies The F5 Again After 13 Years

Our resident fighter pilot/author/movie producer – Paco Chierici – has just come back from a short trip to sunny San Diego where he spent 2 days studying and flying the F5 (the Canadian CF-5D version) and the SIAI-Marchetti S.211 to get type-rated in both planes for future flying opportunities. It’s been 13 years since Paco…
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Bringing the Thrill of a Dogfight to the Page

Life is a story. And life lived on the edge is usually a great story. When I was flying supersonic fighters surrounded by larger-than-life personalities, I felt I was living a bifurcated experience. On the one hand, I was enmeshed in the action, drinking up each moment. And on the other, as a person with…
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