India's first aviator Prof.Setti's contributions hover around Mysore
By Dr.Anantha Krishnan M.
Published in Star of Mysore
Did you know that India’s first aviator was from Mysore?
In this article, Dr. Anantha Krishnan M. throws light on the contributions of Prof. Venkata Subba Setti who has been featured in ‘Modern Review’ magazine in 1912 under the title: ‘The First Indian Aviator.’
Till a few years back, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, more famously known as JRD Tata, was reckoned to be the first aviator from and of India. However, there has been another claimant to bag the distinction of being India’s first aviator and this man was from Mysore. He is Prof. Venkata Subba Setti, born in Shivarampet.
Prof. Setti’s great grandson G.N. Jayaprakash is a scientist with Gas Turbine Research Establishment in Bengaluru. Records provided by Jayaprakash show that Prof. Setti was born on December 28, 1879. “Prof. Setti was involved in the design of Avro-504, the first trainer aircraft of the world in 1912 and later flown it for the first time in 1913,” says Jayaprakash. He got a Technical Scholarship from Maharaja of Mysore.
Prof. Setti did his education at Wesleyan Mission High School, Mysore and later passed matriculation from Madras University in 1896. With a Technical Scholarship from the then Maharaja of Mysore, he did his further education at Madras Engineering College and Thomson Engineering College, Roorkee. Later he joined the Mysore State Government as a probationary sub-assistant engineer in 1906 and served for two years before heading to England on a scholarship in 1909. Prof. Setti chased his passion for planes in England and joined A.V. Roe and Co (Avro) in 1911.
‘Modern Review’ features Prof. Setti in 1912'
Prof. Setti was featured in the popular ‘Modern Review’ magazine in 1912 with the title: ‘The First Indian Aviator.’ He was also a recipient of a specially-minted medal from Messrs A.V. Roe & Co. The Company described the ace plane-maker from India as “persevering, industrious and an expert in matters of aviation.”
Jayaprakash is in possession of an appreciation letter from Avro (dated March 12, 1912) sent to Prof. Setti. The letter terms Prof. Setti as an expert who was good at tuning plane engines in addition to designing them.