Movies & TV Review: Tomcat RIO

Review: Tomcat RIO

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If you are a fan of Top Gun or fast jets, then you might want to take a look at the new Tomcat RIO book by Dave “Bio” Baranek.

Dave Baranek knows exactly what it means to “ride into the danger zone.” In his new release, Tomcat RIO, he plants readers firmly in the cockpit of the legendary F-14 Tomcat fighter, blazing along at twice the speed of sound seven miles above the ocean and the carrier that hurled it off its deck. 

Tomcat RIO is a superbly crafted book that pulls readers into the exciting world of the F-14 and Navy carrier operations. Readers can ride along as Baranek expertly shares all the stomach-dropping thrills of dogfighting and the pulse-pounding tension of patrolling the skies over Iraq with the ability to launch a 100-mile Phoenix missile at the touch of a button. 

An expert in fighter tactics and aircraft carrier operations, Baranek (whose call sign is “Bio”) ascended to the command of an F-14 fighter squadron of more than 300 people, and he shares the challenges and unexpected trials that come with leading a squadron in the dynamic environment of Naval Aviation. 

Afterburners in full roar, Bullet 202 aims for the stratosphere above the South China Sea. This is the shot described in Chapter 19. Long before digital, the ASA 800 film actually adds a dramatic grainy effect. Source: Dave “Bio” Baranek.

Full of adventures, lessons and inspiration, Tomcat RIO also includes dozens of Bio’s best and most acclaimed photos, including one that’s been hailed by photographer George Hall as “one of the best Tomcat photos ever taken.” 

Bio immerses readers in rich detail, where they can practically smell the jet exhaust and feel the gut-wrenching g-forces. Tomcat RIO pitches readers into the thick of it as only Bio can tell it. Strap in, and get ready for a wild ride!

Plugged in! This is how a refuelling looked from the RIO’s back seat, with Pager in the driver’s seat using all his skill to ease the probe into the basket. Source: Dave “Bio” Baranek.

So I am a huge fan of Top Gun having seen it in the cinema back in the 80s, and I’m also a huge fan of fighter planes (again from when I was a kid) and so the opportunity to peak behind the curtain of what it was like to fly in an F-14 Tomcat and being a Top Gun Instructor was too big an opportunity to pass up.

Tomcat RIO is a fantastic coffee table book with over 160 pages filled with stories, memories and lots of photographs taken by the author during his time in the Navy. There are even sections in the book that tell you things you might not know, referred to in the book as Intel Briefs that make you feel like you are part of that world. It’s not just about the flying either, there are lots of interesting stories about life on the ground, including parties and what it’s like to run a squadron and be an instructor. There’s something in there for everyone! And don’t worry about not knowing some of the terms used throughout the book, there is a really great glossary in the back to help clear anything up for you.

This book was a riveting read and I literally couldn’t put it down. It is very well written, makes you feel like you are right there with Bio and has some amazing photographs too. This book is a must for anyone with an interest in planes, the Navy or Top Gun! It’s now pride of place on my bookshelf.

Nickel 110 banks overhead as the USS Nimitz carves and arc in the Persian Gulf, turning into the wind to launch aircraft. Once the launch is complete, the recovery begins. Source: Dave “Bio” Baranek.

Dave “Bio” Baranek is also the author of Topgun Days and Before Topgun Days. He enjoyed a successful and satisfying 20-year career in the United States Navy, starting with assignments to F-14 Tomcat squadrons and the elite Topgun training program as an instructor, and on to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US 7th Fleet. Baranek retired from the Navy in 1999 and is now a defense contractor. He is married and lives in Satellite Beach, Florida.

Tomcat RIO is available now online from Amazon, Simon & Schuster, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and others.

You can learn more about Daver “Bio” Baranek, his other books and his adventures from his website.

Andrew Edneyhttps://moviesgamesandtech.com
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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