Daredevil, 70, pushes the limits to soar to new heights

Ever since the Wright brothers first took to the air, pilots have looked for ways to push the limits of flight.

A record-setting racing pilot in Southern California is doing just that. But he's not the flying daredevil you'd expect.

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Tom Aberle.
CBS News
In the world of high-risk, high-speed air racing, Tom Aberle is one of the best and fastest pilots.

He's also 70 years old.

Aberle has set seven speed records in a biplane that he built himself. He calls it "The Phantom."

At a recent time trial in California's Mojave Desert, he clocked his fastest speed yet: nearly 300 miles per hour.

"The very first time I raced an airplane I thought, 'How the heck am I going to control this airplane feeling like I am right now?'" Aberle said. "I still get that every time."

Aberle first won gold at age 44 -- hitting 203 miles an hour. Now, in the Phantom, he's a 10-time champion.

"I've finished in front and I've finished in back and I've finished most everywhere in-between. It's all fun, but it's more fun in front," he said.

For Aberle, the Phantom just isn't fast enough, so now he's building a new plane -- one he hopes will go even faster. The prototype is naturally called The Phantom 2.

"So it's one engine pulling, one engine pushing, with the pilot sitting in-between," Aberle said.

Aberle hopes this plane will break 500 miles per hour.

"There's no limit on the quest," he said.

At an age when most seniors slow down, this pilot plans to spend his 70s where he feels most comfortable -- high above the ground . . . in first place.

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