Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: The Aviator. Ver 2 | Bangalore's passionate plane-maker Muzakkir is ready with the next flying machine

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Aviator. Ver 2 | Bangalore's passionate plane-maker Muzakkir is ready with the next flying machine

Mohd. Muzakkir Sharief with his microlite MAQH-13, built as part of his engineering college's final year project. He had the support of other 3 coursemates and teachers for this project.
In 2003, he hit headlines after making an aircraft made out of junk material.
City Express photo: Jithendra M
By Anantha Krishnan M
City Express Cover Story
Flashback 2003. India's much-hyped Aviation Capital — Bangalore — erupted in joy when a Class XII boy hailing from a poor family hit the headlines by making a 100-kg weighing plane built with spare parts begged and borrowed from small-time gujri (junk) shops in and around Shivajinagar. The national media ran the story for weeks together and it was a matter of time before the international press too came knocking at his doorsteps. Interestingly, aviation aficionados world over were celebrating the 100th year of the first flight of Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk (December 17, 1903) and Bangalore too had its share of plane stories taking-off in most newspapers.
Mohd Muzakkir Sharieff was barely 20 then and he became a star overnight. His modest house in Munireddy Palya soon turned into a museum of sorts. Schoolchildren lined up from morning to catch a glimpse of his plane named Passion for Success (PFS-1). Unable to handle the media madness, Muzakkir went hiding at his aunt's place.
THE KALAM EFFECT: The news of the wonder boy reached Missile Man Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who was then India’s Supreme Commander. After reading the boy’s story, Dr Kalam told his aides that he was reminded of his early days in Bangalore, when he started his career as a scientist. He sent his aides for a recce and after getting a report from his men, he is said to have directed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to propel Muzakkir's passion.
Springing the biggest surprise, HAL's then chairman N R Mohanty landed up at Muzakkir's home along with a battery of senior officials on November 27, 2003. He was offered a job by HAL and also a promise to fund his education. In the meantime, around 10 engineering colleges across India came forward to offer him a free seat. Scientists from DRDO, NAL, IISc and even from foreign countries chipped in with contributions to help Muzakkir.
Finally, on December 17, 2003, exactly on the day Wright Brothers created history a century ago, Muzakkir joined HAL. He also got into HKBK College of Engineering in 2004.
REALITY BITES: With the sound and dust finally settling in, Muzakkir began his life as a typical HAL employee on Scale. His dream for making it big ran into rough weather with HAL's pathetic HR policies. The boy who dreamt of giving wings to his dreams at supersonic speeds soon came in close contact with truth and reality in HAL. He was told that speed was never the mantra in HAL and everything had its own pace in the plane-making firm. His 'hero status' too created some ruffles within. He also felt suffocated by the shocking levels of hierarchy in HAL. In the meantime, Muzakkir had to fight another battle, related to his health.
BOY IS A MAN NOW: 2013. Meeting Muzakkir after 10 years, since this correspondent first broke his story, was really special. When City Express invited him for an interview, the image of the childish boy hiding behind the tail of his yellow plane was fresh in the memories. Today he is 32, married and still studying. His passion seems to have virtually tripled.
"I knew the only way to spring back was through education. Complete understanding of how to design everything was the key. Also important were matters related to safety, strength and techniques of improvisation. I knew I had the focus and love for aeronautics when I joined HAL 10 years ago but I was lacking in-depth knowledge and the science of plane-making. I joined HAL with high hopes, but...” says Muzakkir, who refused to speak more on his HAL stint.
HIS STRUGGLE CONTINUES: His father, who sacrificed his scooter so that his son could use its engine for his first plane, is no more. “My mother still supports me by giving a part of her pension. I did not earn a single penny after leaving HAL for my higher studies. But my college is still very supportive,” he said.
During his second semester, Muzakkir was diagnosed with TB and he had to undergo an operation to remove a tumor from his left side ribs. “Just 8 days after my wedding in 2010, I had to undergo another operation to remove a kidney stone. Finally, after these bad patches in my life, I joined engineering (3rd year) in 2011 after a long gap. My college is very supportive. My brother paid my last two semester fees and I am now preparing for my final year exams. It took nine years, but I am confident that I will be completing my course this time,” he said.
Wearing a blue blazer of his college, Muzakkir walked into the Express office with another plane story. Christened MAQH-13 /PFS-2, his new plane boasts of everything that could qualify it for flying.
“It's a microlite built along with three of my batchmates as part of our final year project in engineering. We built it under the guidance of Dr J Fazlur Rahman (IIT Madras), HoD Prof Muzzamil Ahmed, principal Dr T C Manjunath, administration head Abdul Hameed S A and director C M Faiz. These names are important as they stood by us rock solid," says Muzakkir.
The name MAQH 13 comes from the names — Mohd Muzakkir Sharieff, Mohammed Akhib J, Quamer Tawheed and Mohammed Hussain.
“We are all final year mechanical engineering students. First we decided to make a missile, but our efforts failed. So, we changed our project to microlite aircraft. We started our project in 7th semester and divided it into 3 modules — propulsion, structure and testing. I personally designed the propeller and ensured that it matched every specification. I referred to so many books, internet and even met many aeronautical engineers. Making an aircraft model and making it fly are two different aspects,” says Muzakkir.
THE PASSIONATE PLANE TEAM: The four-members have so far spent around Rs 50,000 building the microlite and so far it had three successful engine runs.
“When I first picked my team mates, their interest level varied. I had to manage them very carefully so that they got involved in the project 24x7. Akhib used all his influences to get hardware-related parts. He hails from Tamil Nadu and has good knowledge about hardware. Quamer is from Bihar and we call him 'eliminator.' He is good in clearing all our doubts and eliminates our fears. Mohammed Hussain is from Gujarat and he is really good in mathematics. He completes his tasks swiftly," says Muzakkir, giving some insights into his team members' strengths.
MAQH 13 runs on high octane fuel and weighs around 100 kg. The power plant comes in the form of a modified Yamaha engine (150 CC).
“We stuck to the specifications of DGCA throughout the entire project. It has been a huge learning curve for all of us. I am not scared of failures because I have tasted more of it than success. But I am sure I will turn the tables. Making planes is not a silly job. It's not a silly passion either. I did it right from my childhood days. After the exams, I will take the plane to the Jakkur airfield. I really hate when someone tells me that it is a model. With so much of engineering going into it, we are very confident that it will fly," Muzakkir said.
A GIFT TO VITM: Muzakkir says he would gift his new plane, MAGH-13 to Bangalore's Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) after his team achieves their much-expected first flight. "Soon after the exams, we have decided to make the plane go through the final checks. We will also take the guidance from some experts so that they can check its stability. I am hopeful that if it is kept in VITM then it would act as an inspiring model for many youngsters," says Muzakkir, who will be finally attending his Graduation Day ceremony at HKBK Engineering College today.
According to Muzakkir, his wife, Salma Ahmed Haiga has been playing a pivotal role in his life for the last couple of years. "After my marriage, I told her about my dream of making a plane that would fly one day. She always reminds me that good education would fetch me more success. She stays awake when I study and even during days when I return late from the college. She doesn't have any friends or relatives here. I am the only one for her and she enjoys my plane stories," says Muzakkir.
When asked about his plans of steadying his flightpath in life, Muzakkir said: "After getting some industrial exposure, I want to become an entrepreneur. My biggest dream is to own an R&D establishment. Inshallah!"
(Muzakkir can be reached at: pfsatta@yahoo.com)

Copyright@The New Indian Express

The below newspaper clippings will give you an idea on what Muzakkir did in 2003. The blogger was then with The Times of India, Bangalore.
The TOI even had an Edit on his achievement.

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