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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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“Top Gun Days” by Dave ‘Bio’ Baranek

This was Bio’s first book, published in 2012. It was also my first exposure to Bio and his exciting stories about becoming a Naval Flight Officer & RIO in the magnificent F-14 Tomcat. Amongst other topics, Bio talks a lot about his involvement in the making of the famous (original) Top Gun movie, starring Tom…
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TARPS (Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System)

The Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) was a large and sophisticated camera pod carried by the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. It contains three camera bays with different type cameras which are pointed down at passing terrain. It was originally designed to provide an interim aerial reconnaissance capability until a dedicated F/A-18 Hornet reconnaissance version could…
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The F-16 Block 70

With the F-16 still one of the most prolific Western Fighter Jets in service today, Lockheed Martin has not stood still when it comes to keeping this beautiful but deadly lady up-to-date with modern technologies. Designed to operate to 2070 and beyond, the new Block 70 is built on the capabilities of the F-16V advanced…
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The Final Countdown (1980) Movie – Behind The Scenes

For naval aviation fans – particularly lovers of the F-14 Tomcat – one of the first mainstream movies that brought Grumman’s beautiful and deadly interceptor to fame was the movie “The Final Countdown”, released in Aug 1980. The movie is based around the rather fanciful premise of the USS Nimitz accidentally travelling back in time…
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Heatblur Speed & Angels Tournament with Paco Chierici

A few days before Christmas (2019), Paco was the guest star & co-commentator of the very first DCS Speed & Angels Tournament, hosted by Iron Mike (from Heatblur Simulations) & 104th Maverick (from the 104th Phoenix VFBS). It was a long 4.5 hour event from start to finish, but the Red & Blue force pilots…
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Breaking The Deck & How I Almost Got The Callsign Cobra

I was flying with the maintenance officer. We’d been in Hong Kong for about five days, so you pull into port and you have a good time and go out and drink and don’t think about flying aeroplanes for five or six days and you know, the next day you pull back out to sea…
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