Srirama venkatasubba setty

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Not quite WW1 ... but interesting ..... !

    "The first Indian to fly an aircraft did it in just nine years of the Wright brothers taking to the air. In 1912, S.V. Setty not only rebuilt, after his own design, an aircraft built by A.V. Roe & Co. of Manchester, but also flew it. Later when he wanted to build a plane in India, he was told not to.

    Nine decades later, his great-grandson is helping India fulfil Setty's dream. G.N. Jayaprakash is developing the combustion mechanism of Kaveri, India's first jet fighter engine in the DRDO's Gas Turbine Research Establishment, Bangalore. When realised, Kaveri will power India's own light combat aircraft, Tejas.

    It was an emotional moment for Jayaprakash when he received the 'Wings of History' Trophy last week in Delhi for his long-departed great-grandfather from Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. While making his thanksgiving speech, Jayaprakash fished out of his pocket the worn-out medal that Setty had received from A.V. Roe, which later became Avro.

    Armed with a degree in mathematics from Madras University, Srirama Venkatasubba Setty did his engineering studies in Roorkee and joined the Mysore State Service. In 1909 he won a scholarship to study for an electrical engineering diploma from Faraday House, England. He also had practical training at engineering companies in England.

    Flying was catching the fancy of English engineers those days, and Setty decided that he should not return to India without learning aeronautics. He joined the A.V. Roe company. In six months, Setty learned all there was to learn about aeronautics and learnt flying at the A.V. Roe flying school.

    That was the time when the pioneering Australian aviator John Duigan ordered an aircraft from A.V. Roe. The company made one with a 40-horsepower engine, but it just did not take off. No one knew what the hitch was.

    Setty offered to rectify it. He tried to take off, but fell with the aircraft from 50 feet. The company, not wanting Duigan to know about it, towed the plane into a hangar. In the night Setty sneaked into the hangar and studied the flaws in the aircraft. Subsequently he came out with a new design. The company, which did not have an alternative design, allowed him to build it. Setty rebuilt Duigan's plane after his own design.

    A.V. Roe still would not risk another loss of face. They asked him to fly it. Setty did and landed safely. Duigan, who witnessed the flight, purchased the plane on the spot.

    Setty returned to India in June 1912 with a gold medal of 'General Proficiency in Aeronautics'. All records of Setty's designing and flying adventures, however, were lost in a fire that gutted A.V. Roe offices in 1959.

    The plane that Setty built for Duigan is considered the prototype of Avro's later E type. The D and E types later became the prototypes for the famous Avro-500. The Avro-504, an improved version, is considered the first trainer aircraft in the world.

    Back in Bangalore, Setty was appointed superintendent of the first technical school of Mysore state, where the famed technocrat Sir M. Viswesaraiya was the dewan [prime minister]. Setty then started working towards his dream-of building a plane in India. In December 1914, he applied for permission to build one for Rs 16,000, "not more than [the cost] of a sumptuous motor car," as Setty described it in his request letter. Fuselage, wings, accessories and labour would cost Rs 4,500, shed with special shutter Rs 4,000, and a 70-80hp engine Rs 7,500. The durbar of Mysore and the British resident gave their approval. But by order no. 555 of November 27, 1914, the British government of India had prohibited flying or entry of aircraft into British India.

    Setty still worked on his project by appealing to the public and by trying to import an engine. The dream got delayed by the World War, during which he developed a 'vernacular typewriter'. Before the war ended, an influenza epidemic that killed about a fifth of Bangalore's population claimed his life, as also of his wife and one of their four daughters.

    Jayaprakash's father, Nagaraj, was the son of Setty's eldest daughter, Sarasvati. After taking an engineering degree from Bangalore University, Jayaprakash joined GTRE in 1986 and took an M.Tech from IIT Madras.

    What happened to the plane that Setty built for Duigan? He had a few practice sessions on it in England, but did not have the money to take it to Australia. He sold the plane to a recreation club which fitted a 50hp engine on it. The plane was not designed to take such a heavy engine, and it crashed.

    After returning to Australia, Duigan built a similar plane. Australian historians claim that Duigan himself designed it. Thus it is a matter of minor controversy between historians of three countries-about their first aviators. British historian Roger Jackson says that the Duigan aircraft was a milestone in the development of Avro aircraft.

    But the medal that Setty got from A.V. Roe says it all. On it is inscribed that Setty was being honoured for Avro-E. Everyone concedes that Avro-E later came to be known as Avro-500."

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  2. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Bomber Avro 504 was the first to bomb Germany in Nov'1914.

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