Female naval aviator was inspired to fly at Dayton Air Show

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Navy Lt. Christina Bailo flew the EA-18 Growler to the Vectren Dayton Air Show where she was inspired to join the military

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Eight years ago, Christina Bailo visited the Vectren Dayton Air Show and decided she wanted to be a pilot.

She returned to the air show Saturday, a 27-year-old Navy lieutenant flying an EA-18 Growler anti-electronic warfare twin-engine fighter jet.

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“This is a pretty cool airplane,” the South Lyon, Mich., native said smiling broadly and standing next to the two-seated jet that flies nearly twice the speed of sound.

“I started with no flying experience whatsoever,” she said.

For her, her course was set when she put on a flight suit and after flying school headed to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., to join the VAQ-133 “Wizards” squadron and fly off the USS John C. Stennis.

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“The idea of flying off a boat is really intriguing because it’s not every day you can say … I was launched off an aircraft at carrier at night in the thick of clouds,” she said.

Her favorite flying? “Low level when we can go 500 feet through the canyons in Washington. We’re cloud surfing.”

Bailo would like to attend Naval Test Pilot School in Maryland and hopes to one day become a NASA astronaut.

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