Nicole Boettinger says she always wanted to be an astronaut, until she grew to 5'11" and realized she was too tall for the space shuttle. But that didn't dampen her love of flying. The Nebraska resident will be among the 60-odd pilots competing in next month's Women's Air Race Classic, an 80-year-old tradition that puts participants through a four-day, 2,359-mile test of their flying skills. Boettinger says she loves flying cross-country, though she tends to miss the scenery. As a student, she recalls, she stared so intently at the gauges that her instructor finally covered them up, forcing her to look outside. "He brought a bunch of sticky notes and just put them over all the dials and gauges so I'd have to look around," she says.

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