Reno Air Races, September 15, 2010
Yesterday during prequalification flight, Tom Aberle, Pilot and owner of Phantom, Race 62 set a new course record in his beautiful custom Mong Sport at 261.74 mph.
This year Tom has a shinny new engine – a Lycoming 360 with roller lifters – they operate the valves, and the rollers allow for a more aggressive cam profile equating to more torque.
Last year Tom had some engine problems and ran slower – two bad cylinders, so he flew a mere 236.9950mph. His last course record was in 2008 where he flew 251.75mph.
Ken Tunnel, engine re-builder for Ly-Con, won’t say what he did to the engine – Tom asked for a “dyno sheet” but mums seems to be the word, nothing was printed for the record….So, Tom will have to put more hours on the engine and evaluate the possibilities. Since the new engine is still being broken in, each time Tom takes it up for a spin the engine runs faster!
“We’ll see what he can do tomorrow with traffic, says Bob Brown, Race 62 Crew Glass and Aerodynamics man. “Race speeds are usually slower because you don’t have to worry about passing other airplanes or other airplanes passing you – you just have to fly your course with no accommodations for other aircraft.”
Today Tom’s sitting pretty with his qualification time a good 30+ mph more than the other competitors in the bi-plane class. He pretty much has to race against himself this year, improve his own record and see just what the performance capabilities are.
Tom is a charming, down to earth man, who willingly shares his wealth of information with the other pilots in Formula and Biplane classes and anyone with questions about aviation that visit the hanger.
From all your Race Fans Tom, Good Luck with the new engine! You’ve set the bar pretty high – if it isn’t asking too much, can we see a personal best in Sunday’s Gold Race??
Good luck and God’s Speed!