Head of Avionics

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Engineering /
Project Heaviside is Kitty Hawk’s latest high-performance electric VTOL vehicle. It is designed to be fast, small and exceedingly quiet, taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic.

Here at Kitty Hawk, where a century of aviation practices meets technology breakthroughs and a world-class engineering team, things are looking up. In 1903, the Wright brothers took flight for the first time from the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Our journey started by designing, testing and building all-electric vertical take-off and landing products for work and play. Today, in California, we are building on the Wright Brothers’ legacy to create the next generation of vehicles for everyday flight.

In this role you will lead the Heaviside avionics team to develop, qualify, and integrate flight critical electronics and systems onto the Heaviside vehicle.  We design many of our subsystems in-house down to the PCBA level, so you will be experienced with not only avionics architecture, but also designing and packaging fault tolerant electronics for harsh operating environments. 

You will work across functional groups to build consensus and arrive at vehicle-optimal solutions to avionics challenges. This role will give you the opportunity to join a team of very talented electrical and mechanical engineers that are solving some of eVTOL’s most challenging problems.

You should be familiar with all, proficient with most and expert at some of the following, in no particular order:

    • Building, mentoring, and leading highly technical teams
    • Setting priorities, defining deliverables, and tracking progress for large technical efforts
    • Delivering fault tolerant designs in a regulated environment - preferably aerospace
    • Digital and analog circuit design, PCB layout, and packaging for harsh environments
    • Designing and testing to DO-160, MIL-STD-810, or similar standards
    • Performing FMEA / safety analyses at the system and PCBA level
    • Design For Manufacture (DFM) on PCBAs and top level assemblies

Desired Experience:

    • Experience with HIRF or indirect lightning exposure operating environments
    • Experience with a requirements driven development process (e.g. ARP4754)
    • Experience with vehicle-level harnessing and integration
    • Familiarity with microcontrollers and firmware development
    • Scripting and data analysis (e.g. Python) on Linux command line

Within 3 months you will:

    • Become familiar with our aircraft’s avionics, sensors, and redundancy approach
    • Take responsibility for the avionics team’s technical roadmap and deliverables
    • Mentor junior engineers on best practices, robust design, and DFM

Within 6 months you will:

    • Help guide architectural discussions for our current and future aircraft
    • Lead the next generation design of the Heaviside vehicle’s core flight computer
    • Shepherd existing designs through crewed flight qualification

    • You should be able to describe your contributions to previous personal, academic, open source and/or professional projects that you are most proud of.
We are located in Palo Alto and Hollister, with great access to nice outdoor spaces as well as to airports at both locations. We offer a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, vision and life insurance (company pays 100% of employee premium), unlimited PTO days, 10 company holidays, a 401(k) plan with 50% company matching (no vesting period), commuter assistance, and education assistance. And on top of all that, we also offer a variety of perks such as free catered lunches and snacks, flight lessons, happy hours and many more.

Kitty Hawk provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Kitty Hawk abides by applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Kitty Hawk is an E-Verify employer.