131: Engineered To Soar: Adriana’s aviation adventure

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Adriana Barragan grew her passion for life, beauty, science and freedom. During her childhood and teens, she was exposed to disciplined arts and sports that would let her develop her spirit and realize the power of the mind. Raised near the International Airport of Guadalajara, airplanes made her wonder. She had a revelation while learning basic aerodynamics on the internet. She was filled with pure passion and excitement. This was the most amazing applied physics she had ever read and represented the greatness of invention. Her learning and joy for flight only grew from that day.
At age 15, Adriana confirmed her vocation for aviation while feeling reflected in the book “Running from Safety: an Adventure of the Spirit” by Richard Bach. Soon she realized that Flight Testing combined everything she loved, defining her pursuit to become an Experimental Test Pilot. After making her vocation public, her family could only show concern. 
Regardless, she took the steps to become proficient in English and applied to MIT, ERAU, and Wichita State University. After receiving letters of admission, she camped on her roof during a clear night where she made her affirmation. This journey promised her everything – adventure, growth, romance, achievement, freedom, joy – and so her family understood this “bug”. Six months before coming to the US, her family supported her to get a private pilot’s license in Guadalajara. Later, she graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University in December of 2014. She worked as a research engineer at the Computational Mechanics Laboratory of the National Institute for Aviation Research for 3.5 years, 3 years as an Experimental Flight Test Engineer at Gulfstream Aerospace, and 2 years as a Maneuver Loads Engineer at Gulfstream Aerospace.
Adriana has been flying since 2010, besides her Private Pilot Certificate, she paid for her Instrument rating, Commercial Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificate, Glider rating, and a bunch of aviation specialty courses including tailwheel, aerobatics, soaring events, and sea planes. After almost 10 years working as an engineer, Adriana “retired” the corporate world to start ORKA. She currently helps people obtain Private and Commercial Pilot Certificates, Tailwheel endorsements, and supports many students through her remote Online Course.
Her vision is to lead those with a burning aviation desire to the finest flight instructors/coaches/teachers and aviation specialty courses. Because in her aviation journey, aiming for elite training and education, she found most training institutions were leaving gaps of knowledge and experience. ORKA will be the trusted platform to find effective, high quality training and vocation to teach. ORKA shall connect people, specially those new to aviation, to the richness of the aviation community. A network of humble, caring, available and talented individuals with deep knowledge and sharp skills. ORKA shall bring together educators, flyers, engineers, competition pilots, recreational pilots, etc, who have something to teach and want to teach.

Like the flight test of an airplane, Adriana found developing skill and knowledge in a pilot benefits from the disciplined approach we use in Flight Test to expand the envelope. But this time, she was to dedicate her career to develop ”ability” to fly an aircraft to its full capabilities.

Sometimes you are so focused on what you want that you forget what you need.






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