Software Test Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Software Engineering /
Here at Kitty Hawk in Palo Alto, we are leading the race to market with our all-electric  Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  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. 

We are looking for an experienced Software Test Engineer to join the software and controls team for the Heaviside project. Your primary responsibility will be to test and release software for the flight test team prior to flight tests. You’ll be developing test protocols and automation scripts to test the software at different levels. You’ll be contributing to fixing defects in the flight software and adding new features. You will be the primary link between the flight test team and the software team and you will regularly participate in flight tests. If you are passionate about testing, you have experience in debugging software for complex hardware systems, you are very hands-on and you are excited to be in a key role between flight test operation and software development, we’d love to hear from you. You’ll have the opportunity to join a team of very talented software and control engineers that are solving some of the most complex problems for the future of transportation. 


    • Participate in flight tests and support the flight test team
    • Work closely with software developers and control engineers to test new features, investigate software issues and provide input
    • Write and maintain automation test scripts for software in the loop and hardware in the loop testing
    • Improve and maintain the hardware-in-the-loop testing infrastructure
    • Develop tools to report test results and metrics for software testing
    • Integrate automation test scripts as part of the Continuous Integration framework
    • Own testing and integration of each software release prior to hand off to the Flight Test team
    • Manage the flight software release process
    • Write, execute and maintain test protocols for software functional testing, regression testing and integration testing on hardware
    • Collaborate with other R&D engineers to investigate and triage system issues


    • BS or higher in CS/EE or related fields and 3+ years of relevant experience
    • Strong programming experience with C/C++ and Python
    • Strong experience in Linux environment and command line tools. Proven experience in testing and debugging complex electromechanical systems.
    • Experience with robotics, autonomous vehicles, or drones operating in a real-world environment
    • Experience writing detailed and complete test protocols
    • Familiar with bug tracking systems and test case management tools
    • Familiar with build systems and continuous integration tools such as Git and Bazel
    • Excellent oral and written communication skills and very detail oriented
    • Comfortable occasionally working in an outdoor environment

Desired Experience:

    • Experience in a regulated environment, preferably aerospace
    • Experience with safety-critical software (DO-178C, MISRA, etc.)
    • Familiar with database query languages
    • Basic understanding of modern control theory (stability analysis, Kalman filtering) and flight vehicle dynamics
    • Passion for aviation and the future of transportation
We welcome you to apply even if you don’t match every requirement posted for this role.  No one candidate will be a 100% perfect match to our description, so if you are passionate about working on the next evolution in aviation and have similar experience to what we are looking for, we encourage you to apply.  Diverse backgrounds and experiences promote innovation and our goal is to build a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.

All of our team whose roles allow them to work remotely are doing so, and will continue to do so until we’re able to be back in the office. For teams that are not able to work remotely we’re making every accommodation possible to provide a safe working environment, and ensuring we meet all state and county guidelines. 

Our headquarters is in Palo Alto and 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), flight lesson subsidy, education assistance, and company-sponsored social events. For those working onsite, Kitty Hawk also offers commuter assistance, and free drinks and snacks.

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.