Bud's Life Experience
With fifty years of experience with building and troubleshooting engines and equipment, and qualifications including his A & P license, Bud Warren was a highly qualified builder of aircraft components. Born in Springfield, MO in 1940, Bud always loved things that go fast-and worked on fast cars even as a child and up through his teenage years. As a young man he knew he needed to get to a place where he could learn more and have more opportunity-so in 1958 he moved to Houston Texas. Bud worked in the oilfield and aerospace industry in problem solving for a NASA subcontractor for Boeing Aircraft. Bud was instrumental in the development and perfecting of control instrumentation, and even built the valves that charged the fuel rockets for the Gemini Space Program. Bud was a master machinist and knowledgeable metallurgist having operated his own job machine shop for almost thirty years. During this time, Bud received his certification as an aircraft welder.
Since the later 1950's, Bud was on the cutting edge of the drag racing industry developing new ways to go fast and in a more safe race car. His passion led him to obtain his SEMA licensed as a builder and inspector of top fuel, funny car, and other classes of NHRA, IHRA and AHRA drag cars. Safety had always been his concern. Bud was also a very accomplished and well known driver, and held his top fuel and funny car license for twenty years. He also engineered and built top fuel and top alcohol racing engines for drag strip, drag boats, and circle track cars.
How to apply the power to the wheels and get to the finish before the other guy was the whole point in auto racing. Minute little changes in set up could mean the difference between making the round without blowing the engine, or the difference between winning or losing. Bud had an intimate understanding of engines, clutches and transferring torque into forward motion. In 1980, Bud purchased his first airplane, a Mooney, so that he could attend more drag races! This started his love of aviation.
Bud was a devoted Colonel of the Confederate Air Force (now the Commemorative Air Force) and member of the Tora Tora Tora Squadron. There were no aircraft for him to take over and sponsor at the time, so he decided he would add one to the organization by finding a project and building one. After some time he found a BT-13 stuck in a muddy field in Galveston County, Texas, made the deal on the airplane and set out to try to get it home. After several days of working on it, he literally flew this old BT-13 out of the muddy field where it had sat stuck in the mud for years. He then totally rebuilt into a replica of a Val that is still flying today. This airplane is now a representative of the Commemorative Air Force and still shows Mr. Warren's name as master craftsman. With all of his hands-on experience one can see the position of knowledge and credibility which has been the basis for all his PSRU and engine designs.
In 1992, a friend approached Bud about the possibility of using a small block Chevrolet in his homebuilt Wheeler Express. Bud was fascinated, saw a challenge, and set about to design and put together an engine and drive combination that would be safe and dependable. As a licensed A&P Mechanic, he was intrigued with the idea that an automobile engine could be successfully installed and used in experimental aircraft. The weak link in this assembly proved to be the propeller speed reduction unit. After months spent researching the PSRU's that were on the market and available at the time, decided there must be a better way. With his experience with automotive engines and transmissions, he set out to design a redrive that would engineer out the typical problems that arise with the use of an automobile engine in an airplane. After years of research and development, trouble shooting, and many hours of test flying, Bud succeeded in engineering out all of the inherent problems associated with such an application.
Bud purchased the Wheeler that he started helping his friend build in 1992 prior to it's maiden flight, and was powered by the same Chevrolet engine and prototype PSRU that Bud designed and built for it for over 700 hours. He often took his friends and family for sight seeing trips and cross country travel in this aircraft. Bud was passionate about his convictions and his mechanical knowledge of the experimental aircraft industry, and firmly believed in this redrive and engine combination as evidenced in the fact that he flew it himself.