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Phlogger aka Andrew Walmsley

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Interview with Top Gun Dave Baranek

Welcome to episode 75 everyone and I have another different guest for you.  Some of you have been waiting excitedly for this one too – so welcome on board Flight Instructor Dave Baranek (aka callsign “Bio”).


So Dave was an officer in the USA Navy and not only flew (he’s a radar intercept officer)  in the f-14 Tomcat’s but managed a squadron too!  Not only that but Dave has ties to one of the most famous aeroplane films ever – Top Gun!  Yes, he helped with instructing on the film and is credited too.


Dave is a very friendly guy who is happy to share details of his career, which included shooting pictures whilst he was flying!  It’s another interesting guest who started life with film cameras like the Konica fs1 (+ft1) and talks to us how he coped with his work and still taking some lovely images.  He tells us a little his talk in the navy and what he’s done since too.


So listen out for:

  • how Dave’s vision affected his path
  • instructing at the top gun school
  • Shooting through plexiglass
  • Tripods + ejection seats
  • Konica cameras
  • Technicians vs Artists
  • Navy photo labs
  • Reconnaissance missions
  • Film choices
  • Dangers of photography & flying
  • Importance of hard work

I have to say Dave’s life is very different to most, but he is still a humble man so hope you like this one.  My favourite quote from this show was “connected a tripod to the ejector seat” – I nearly choked when he said this!



Of course, Dave kindly answers our fun questions so find out:

Why he would move Hong Kong!

Very special Navy training tests!



As per my podcast, we talked about some of Dave’s photos and here they are for you all. Thanks to Dave for these.

Dave’s low and fast shot
Dave’s paint job picture
Dave “Bio” Baranek
Dave’s afterburner shot
US Navy F-14A Tomcat aerial refueling from US Marine Corps KC-130 Hercules. 1983


Dave talks about a couple of other famous aeroplane photographers. These are:

George Hall –

Niko Tokunaga –


Website –


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