Donning My CPAP and Sleep Mask I Become Top Gun Ghostrider

 

As I don my sleep mask and CPAP mask, I say…

“Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.”

The answer is always the same…

Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”

Rather than engage the target, I will pull a negative 4Gs, do an inverted rollover and bug out.

This summer is the 25th Anniversary of the movie Top Gun, and did I find a cool book about the movie and the Top Gun school.

I fantasize about flying an F-16 with Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and Tom Skerritt.

Dave “Bio” Baranek didn’t have to fantasize, he actually performed the deadly aerial maneuvers that made “Maverick,” “Iceman” and “Viper” household names and wrote Top Gun Days.

Bio (because Baranek kinda rhymes with Bionic, but that didn’t work, so it became “Bio”) was one of 451 men to become a Navy Flight Officer in 1980 and the only one that year to become a much-feared-and-respected Topgun instructor; an honor awarded only to the “best of the best.”

When Hollywood green-lighted  a movie about the elite Naval Fighter Weapons School (aka Topgun), they knocked on Bio’s door.

In his memoir  Top Gun Days, Bio does a great job of explaining what Top Gun is, how to get there, how to excel, and how all that became a movie. The book is loaded with technical jargon, (with a glossary) and inside stuff that should fulfill any pilot – or those that pretend to be one.

The book starts out painfully slow, I almost stopped slogging through the first few dozen pages, but I persevered and found myself not able to put the book down – except to pack a few more bins. This was my “break-time” book and is a perfect summer read.

This is more than just a book about the movie Top Gun, some highlights are:

  • First Person Faceoffs in the air at 700 MPH when the director of the movie wanted them “just a little closer”
  • A Cold War Perspective – aerial missions to neutralize Soviet bomber threats.
  • Life-or-death adventure — how he survived a split-second ejection from a crashing F-14.
  • Tidbits – How Topgun students receive their call-signs
  • The first takes of Top Gun—which had to be redone because they were inaccurate or improbable and the extra added babbling needed to make the scenes
  • A glossary of flight terms and important Topgun information.

Top Gun Days is a cool book.

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