Sam Tilleman and Saber Manufacturing

You’ve seen the commercial with the line, “I liked it so much I bought the company”. A couple of years ago EAA Chapter 983 member Sam Tilleman almost lost a prop on his Thorp because of an incompatible extension and crush plate. He had to buy a new set and when he saw the quality of the work and the materials he liked it so much he bought the company. After all, he didn’t have enough to do already as a supervisor at the Commanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.

Judy Saber started Saber MFG in 1984 and the one woman operation moved to a mountaintop in Arizona when she married Clark Lydich whom manufactured Performance Props. The combined work had gotten to be a little too much when along comes Sam and a short time later he’s trying to figure out how to get a mill, a lathe and a truck full of gear down that gravel, switchback road.

It’s a fascinating business and it’s all experimental. His extensions and crush plates are on all the Formula 1 racers, test stands for Continental and many others, almost every homebuilt that uses an extension and just about every new experimental being built. Sam says the new aircraft programs are one of the best parts of the business. When a new plane is taking shape he gets to see it in the design phase and sometimes will make several extensions as it morphs. He supplies about 90% of the world market for prop extensions and has manufactured them for biplanes, blimps and chicken coop fans.