Many Dawoodi Bohras pursue careers in science and technology. But for one Bohra in Houston, his passion for building things has, literally, taken him to new heights.
My name is Huzaifa Wajihee, and I am a serial entrepreneur. In the past 20 years, I have started multiple companies in the digital media, advertising, plastics, glass processing, roofing and real estate industries. I grew up in Sharjah, UAE, and reside in Houston, Texas. A certified public accountant by training, I have spent my career in finance and management.
I realized at an early age that I wanted to do more ‘hands-on’ projects. I have had a passion for building (and breaking) things since I was a child, such as fitting a RAM card into my first computer and taking apart the dashboard of my first car the day my father bought it. Naturally, then, given that my work entails sitting at a desk all day, I started to look outside the box to expand my horizons and see what new challenge I could take on.
For my first project, in 2014, I built a car at home, spending 500 hours in the garage over the course of a year to build an Ultima Evolution. The experience made me realize that I enjoy studying systems I know nothing about, learning how to put them together, and building a complex piece of ‘art’ from scratch.
After moving to Houston, I was still running businesses in Dubai and operating on Dubai time (which is nighttime in the United States), so I found I had plenty of time in the day to pursue other activities and hobbies. So, when the opportunity to build a plane came along, I was confident I could do it because I knew I would be able to learn the required skills needed.
I built a Sling TSi plane with a Rotax 915is engine. The entire project took me over 1,450 hours, including 1,300 hours of build time, 100 hours to prepare the plane for testing, and 50 hours of testing. I started in my workshop at home and then moved to a hanger to assemble the pieces.
I encountered numerous challenges along the way. The global pandemic caused supply chain delays and many times I had to stop for weeks, waiting for parts. I also suffered a neck injury six months into the build, which caused restrictions in my movement. And I had to learn many new techniques along the way, using only YouTube videos or online descriptions. It was quite a challenge to become proficient without professional hands-on training.
However, my determination and passion enabled me to persevere through the difficult moments and finish building my plane. I learned the value of multitasking, patience, and dedication. I achieved a goal that would not have been possible had I not taken a risk and followed my passion.