Road Name: Suranjan Das Road named after Suranjan Das (22nd February 1920 – 10th January 1970)
Road Location: Near Tippasandra
Famous for: His service to the Indian Air Force
Suranjan Das was born in Calcutta and was ambitious about flying at a very young age. His parents didn’t approve of his career as a pilot. But, he followed his dreams and was a pilot of the Indian Air Force who is respected and loved by the whole of India.
Suranjan Das road is very well known for its everlasting widening process. Last year, around 150 trees were felled for road widening. But we must remember Suranjan Das road for the reason that the great man on whom this road was named after. The great pilot who served the nation, Suranjan Das.
Suranjan Das was born on February 22nd 1920 in Calcutta. As he grew, he recognized his passion for flying and aeromodelling. But his parents disapproved of his dream. They sent him to engineering college.
During his time there, the World War 2 broke out. He volunteered and was recruited as a trainee pilot for the Royal Indian Air Force. His parents continued to disapprove of his dream, but yet he grew into flying and went on to take his place firmly in the history of flight testing and development of new aircraft types.
The year 1949 was a watershed for the aviation industry in India. In that year Dr. VM Ghatge started design work in Hindustan Aircraft Limited (HAL) on the Hindustan Trainer-2 (HT-2). At the same time, IAF felt the need of test pilots and sent two brilliant pilots to Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) in the UK. The two recruits were Lieutenants Roshan Lal Suri and Suranjan Das. On August 5, 1952, Mr. Jamshed K Munshi, HAL’s Chief Test Pilot (CTP), while taxying the HT-2, got airborne in it and flew it for about 45 minutes. After he landed, he pronounced the aircraft fit for the IAF. Dr Ghatage asked him if he had spun the aircraft. Captain Munshi confirmed that the aircraft had given him no trouble in the spin. Suranjan Das left HAL soon afterwards.
At Kanpur, Das hit a blue-bull on the runway during a take-off, killing it on the Toofani. The Toofani also suffered considerable damage but was repaired for flying. Fortunately, Das was not injured.
On January 10, 1970, the brilliant career of Group Captain Suranjan Das came to an untimely and tragic end in the fatal crash of the HF-24 Mk 1R prototype. On take-off, the canopy opened and probably the right engine lost power. Unfortunately, he could not have ejected out of the aircraft unless the canopy flew off, which it didn’t. At that time his father, the ex-Chief Justice of India, was the Vice Chancellor of Vishwa Bharati at Shantiniketan. He was naturally very sad at the irreparable loss and yet very proud of his son. Das’s death killed the 1R project.