If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to pilot an aircraft high in the sky, now is your chance with Flight Sim Australia! Located at Shop 3 in Parc Arcade, Adelaide, you’ll go from walking through the arcade corridors to sitting in the pilot’s seat of a Replica Boeing 737 800 in seconds flat.
Run by Adelaide local Wael Al Jammal, a DJ, and entrepreneur, Flight Sim Australia is as much a labour of love as it is a smart business move.
For most of his life, Jammal dreamed of being a pilot. Not one to let a goal fall by the wayside, he went to post-secondary for Aviation and began the work required to make his dreams a reality. While Jammal was studying, a tragedy happened half a world away. A day we all remember as 9/11. At first, you might wonder why a terrible, senseless act in another country would have any impact on an Australian with little relation to 9/11, but people are ignorant, and with ignorance comes cruelty.
Jammal’s heritage is from the Middle East, and I’m sure you can only imagine the unwarranted bullying directed at him after 9/11 occurred. Jammal started to question whether anyone would hire him upon graduation and, after moving through a cultural climate that wasn’t positioned to help him succeed, decided he needed to step away from aviation in order to regroup himself.
“That’s when I found music” Jammal recalls, “Music took me away from all the issues that were happening around the world and in my life. It changed me as a person and I feel like it made me stronger.”
He went on to become a successful DJ, playing for T-Pain, Sean Paul, and Tyga as well gaining exposure on Hit107 R&B Fridays and Fresh FM, to name a few. The confidence music gave back to him offered Jammal the motivation to go back to school to finish his degree. And, with the help of Renew Adelaide, Jammal took the leap to try something completely different and opened a street-fashion apparel store called Fairfax, which has now seen success for just over a year.
“I went from aviation to becoming a DJ, and to eventually running nightclubs, the last two with very little experience. So running my own street-fashion store didn’t seem like such a scary leap to make. I loved the challenge of it, so I did it.” says Jammal.
However, flight still called to Jammal and, after 10 years since he abandoned his dream, he decided it was time to pursue aviation once more.
“I was looking online to buy a very basic simulator for my spare bedroom at home. Just a computer with a joystick so I could fly for fun in my spare time. I stumbled across a full-fledged simulator a Cathay Pacific pilot was selling.” Jammal remembers, “I traveled the very next day to Sydney and made the deal, deciding in that moment I would start a flight simulator business. In a way, this is a dream come true. Even though I am not flying for an airline this has definitely re-ignited my flame for aviation. I’ve even been considering chasing my dream again to becoming an airline pilot!”
And, let me tell you, I can see why Jammal is so taken by the idea of flight. I was able to take his Replica Boeing 737 800 for a spin, even getting to choose which airport and country I wanted to zip around! I, of course, chose my hometown of Vancouver, Canada and it was scary how accurate the view was. I felt like I was home!
Jammal opened Flight Sim Australia also with Renew Adelaide, a non-profit urban renewal project which connects enterprises with property owners, and hopes to one day expand into a larger space which will offer a range of aircrafts the public can fly.
“I’d like to build a duty-free and a small terminal, to really give the general public that feeling of going through an airport before they step into a plane.”
Jammal is also working to fit his current setup with semi-motion for an even more realistic experience.
While I wish the cruelty of people hadn’t taken 10 years away from Jammal realising his dream, I am elated to see such a strong and positive individual build so much success, regardless of the setbacks he’s experienced.
Flight Sim Australia truly is a delightful experience and would suit a unique date, gift for a loved one or simply a fun afternoon for anyone excited by the idea of flying a plane.
I for one can’t wait to visit again! Not only to support this local power-house but to continue to learn a thing or two about flying a commercial aircraft. If zombie apocalypse movies have taught me anything, you never know when a skill like that could come in handy!
Words and Photos by Jamieson Eileen
WHERE: Parc Arcade, 7/19 Rundle Mall, Adelaide