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Thread: Another Wingman quiz

  1. #1
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    Default Another Wingman quiz

    The other quiz was fun, so here's another. I have removed the pilot's name, for obvious reasons. This was an interesting airplane. It was owned by a group of lawyers (so imagine what team meetings must have been like!). Thus the names Legal Eagle and Class Action that it carried over the years. It raced off and on for a decade or so, usually flown by another pilot. One year the regular pilot could not race so this guy was asked. The airplane was very far from a stock Pitts, and was constantly being worked on and changed considerably during its time racing. It never quite rose to the top, though this pilot got it over 200mph and once again into a Gold.

    But this quiz is to ask who is this man? He was between Championships at the time, having won Reno twice and an airplane he built having won 3 more with another owner. He was one of the very best stick and rudder pilots ever to race at Reno, and was a great fabricator and designer, and was a veteran of 30 years (off and on) of Reno racing. Another top pick for any Air Racing Hall of Fame. He was also a very decent and well liked man, who helped out many fellow racers over the years.

    Unfortunately, he was in a class followed by about 3 or 4 fans, and so when this shot was taken was pretty unknown outside his racing class.

    So who is this?? This should be easy (maybe too easy) with all these clues -- we'll see.

    Neal
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    Last edited by wingman; 11-10-2020 at 12:10 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    The late great Tom Abberly.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    And I am one of those 3-4 fans I guess...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    The late great Tom Abberly.
    My memory is going south these days.. when did Tom pass?
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    Here's a very nice obituary

    https://www.kitplanes.com/tom-aberle-1943-2019/

    He had a amazing career -- it's a shame he was not better known. Like a lot of racers in the "lesser classes" he never got the credit he deserved for his life in air racing...

    Here's another Kitplanes article specifically about Phantom. It is a longish read but every word is worth the time. It's especially worth noting how difficult the airplane is to fly -- Tom was legendary for building airplanes that were really fast, but that only he could fly. In Tom Aberle's world fast trumped flyable every time.


    https://www.kitplanes.com/biplane-gold-phantom/

    Here is the homepage for Tom's business. It seems to have last been updated years ago, as the family business has moved on and has a separate modern webpage, but they have apparently maintained Tom's old site as well. If you hit the link for "Racing History- dating from the 1960's" you get a hugely entertaining selection of Tom's own writing about his experiences over the years. This man was really something. I feel honored to have known him a little bit.

    http://www.aberlecustomaircraft.com/index.htm

    Neal
    Last edited by wingman; 11-10-2020 at 01:56 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    All those years at the races Tom Aberle was a name that you heard frequently over the PA. A great racer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Reno
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    Dang! I actually knew this one right away but Iím a bit late to the party again. Someday Iíll win a Wingman quiz.

    The lunacy of Phantom has always fascinated me. Both Tom and Phantom, true legends.
    You'll get your chance, smart guy!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    From Reno 2007

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  9. #9
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    Everett, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    Another fun quiz - thanks! At my first Reno in 1988, I was enthralled by the unlimiteds. Still am. But in the past ten years or so, I have come to really enjoy F1 and the biplanes. We never miss them now. Some of the best racing, and very accessible in the pits. I really appreciate the racers in these classes who have shown up year after year, without a huge fan following, and done what they love.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Another Wingman quiz

    In 1988 who could not be enthralled by the Unlimiteds? Qualifying alone was exciting because you knew, and the pilots knew, that several teams that had worked and suffered to get there would not even get to race because there were several more racers than available slots. Sunday's Gold Race was all supermodifieds. It was a remarkable time. But there were 40 or more other airplanes in the other classes that worked just as hard to get there and make the show. I've been telling people for many years now that much of the best racing at Reno was in the IF1 and Biplane ranks. Some amazing people too.

    I'm always glad when these folks get some of the attention they deserve.

    Neal

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