SpaceX Launch Video Of A Falcon 9 Rocket Legendary RIO pilot Dave Baranek took video of this week’s SpaceX launch of a Falcon 9, taken at a distance of 24.4 miles from the launch pad.
Launch was at the civilized time of 10:25 am local. The flight was called Transporter 3, with a payload of 105 small satellites.
The trajectory was due south and passed right over Dave who lost it on his video screen due to the bright daylight. Approximately 9 minutes after launch we saw the booster land at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is 19.4 miles from Dave’s location.
They usually land at a recovery ship offshore. There was a sonic boom from the descending booster, but it arrived at my location after Dave turned off his camera.
Dave Baranek was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, where he grew up drawing airplane pictures and putting together scale model airplane kits. In his early teens he set his sights on becoming a jet fighter pilot or radar intercept officer. He attended Georgia Tech and participated in the ROTC to qualify for officer training, then entered the Navy in 1979. Shortly after he joined his first squadron he received the callsign “Bio,” which many of his former squadronmates still call him.
He enjoyed a successful and satisfying 20-year career in the Navy, starting with assignments to F-14 Tomcat squadrons. And the elite Topgun training program, and later assignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US 7th Fleet. At one point, he commanded an F-14 Tomcat fighter squadron, responsible for nearly 300 people and 14 aircraft worth about $700 million. He completed his career with 2,499.7 F-14 Tomcat flight hours and 688 carrier landings. His logbook also records 461.8 flight hours in the F-5F Tiger II.
While serving as a Topgun air-to-air combat instructor in 1985. Dave had the unusual experience of flying aerial sequences used in the film “Top Gun.”
Top Gun starred Tom Cruise and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson. Furthermore, Dave also served as a dialogue advisor on the project. And took some of the few available photographs of the movie’s black F-5 fighters in flight.
He retired from the Navy in 1999, and works as a defense contractor. He is married and lives in Satellite Beach, Florida.
Throughout his Navy career and afterwards he was chosen to write articles, reports. And other products where compelling, high-quality writing is important. He wrote classified articles for the Topgun Journal professional magazine and also wrote and presented briefings to General Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney when he was on the Joint Staff.
Bio interview with BBC’s Alex StangerIn 2004 he was contacted by BBC-TV and worked with them on a story about Tom Cruise and how “Top Gun” helped make him a superstar – screen capture at left from the program. Dave is also quoted and indexed in Andrew Morton’s Tom Cruise, An Unauthorized Biography (St Martin’s Press, 2008, pp. 86-87).
Dave has published articles in numerous aviation magazines and websites.