Reno, Nevada – September 17, 2012 - Tom Aberle’s custom built “Phantom” won the Gold this year at the RENO Air Races. Phantom’s historic achievement reached a speed of 246.454 miles per hour.
Aberle has been racing at Reno since 1967, and flying has been in his family for three generations. Aberle owns Aberle Custom Aircraft, a fabrication and maintenance shop in Fallbrook, Ca., that built Phantom from the ground up, along with a team of visionaries and friends. Phantom weighs 738 pounds and its four-cylinder, 360-cubic-inch Lycoming engine exceeds 250 horsepower. “Tom Aberle’s win at the RENO Air Races attests to the reliability and power of Lycoming engines. We congratulate Tom on his success with the Phantom,” said Guido Defever, Vice President of Research, Development and Engineering at Lycoming Engines.
“It’s a completely unique machine, fused together from flying experience, mechanical know-how, and high-end aviation innovation”, said Aberle. Tom Aberle earned his airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate from the Northrop Institute of Technology in Inglewood, California.
Since that time he has just never stopped working on aircraft. Aberle’s racing career spans time and distance from St. Louis to Mexicali. An enthusiastic group of friends and colleagues joined Phantom’s team inclusive of his son Jerry Aberle, Andy Patterson, and Stewart Patterson of Patterson Motorsports in Fallbrook. Robert T. Bush from Northrop Grumman also joined the team and created many of Phantom’s concepts.
The teams vision was realized by Phantom’s first flight in late August 2003. By September, it was the top performer in its class at Reno with a speed of 221 miles per hour. Phantom’s design continued to evolve when aviation enthusiast Paul Lipps developed an unusual custom propeller design for Phantom that was based on a design for Lipps own Lancair 235. “After a period of several months of conversations, Aberle received one of the propellers that Paul built,” Aberle said. “Paul had shipped us a two-bladed propeller and it boosted Phantom’s speed by 10 miles per hour.” Aberle had tested the propeller and supplied Lipps with the data. Based on this new data Lipps designed a three blade and although it was slower in acceleration, Phantom saw a marketable speed improvement.
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"After some additional flight tests, Phantom’s team went to the races in Reno,” Aberle said. At Reno this year Phantom won the sport biplane class, beating 13 others to win that division. Phantom continues to improve on its unique design year after year. This year at Reno, Phantom used its ELIPPSE four blade propeller design and “The acceleration is just blinding,” he said. From the get-go, it will set your head back. About the time it gets off the ground, you feel the plane picking up speed, and it accelerates really well all the way from 100 to 200 miles per hour. “This year’s race was a remarkable achievement. I’m sitting here in my office with Phantom 15 feet away and that’s how it is every day of my life,” Aberle said. “There sits part of my dream.”
Aberle Custom Aircraft is staffed by technicians with over 50 years combined experience in general aviation fabrication, construction and maintenance. Our staff includes third and fourth generation mechanics and aviators. We carry our legacy proudly, and constantly maintain our commitment to quality workmanship. Our involvement in racing aircraft development has provided us with respect for the performance and reliability aspects of our products. We attempt to impart this respect in all that we produce. The result is that our clientele benefit from the rigors of racing experience. We call it 'Performance Engineering'. Our resources in this area are considerable. Not always, but nearly so, we can do it! Our primary location is in Southern California in the small community of Fallbrook. We are fortunate to have nearly 365 days a year available for flying and functional testing of our products. We fly the aircraft upon which we work. We feel this gives us a decided advantage over those who do not. Over the years we have maintained affiliation with the following organizations- PRPA FAI EAA NAA NARA AOPA ABS ANS CPA
About Fallbrook Air Service
Fallbrook Air Service serves general aviation with aircraft rental, flight instruction, hangar/tiedown rental and aircraft maintenance and has been serving aviation and the Fallbrook community for over 40 years.
Our flight training and flight school are unique from the ground up. We believe in "stick and rudder training" and safety. Our goal is to prepare the pilot for a satisfying personal and professional aviation experience. The flavor of Fallbrook Air Service is complimented with affiliate programs and services in maintenance, custom aircraft building, and is also owned and operated by the Aberle family.