Senior Aerodynamicist

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Aerostructures /
Full-time
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 seeking an experienced Aerodynamics Engineer to join our growing aerostructures team. This position offers a unique opportunity to be involved early in the conceptual design of the aircraft and drive key program decisions surrounding aircraft configuration and aerodynamics. You will own aerodynamics analysis and associated ground, wind tunnel, and flight test validation. Positive attitude, passion, and self-learner mentality are a must have.

Responsibilities:

    • Balance structural requirements, control systems, and aerodynamic performance in the design of VTOL aircraft
    • Develop and maintain low and high fidelity aerodynamic models of the aircraft
    • Create and optimize vehicle OMLs
    • Develop 2D airfoils using techniques such as inverse design, direct design, and parametric generation
    • Participate in conceptual design and comparative evaluation of possible concepts
    • Provide information to allow development of loads profiles, vibration environments, and flutter boundaries
    • Develop test plans for wind tunnel and ground tests
    • Experimentally validate aerodynamic models and databases from flight test data
    • Design of thermal-flow paths and models for various vehicle components

Requirements:

    • BS in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or relevant discipline
    • In-depth knowledge of aircraft or rotorcraft aerodynamics
    • Practical experience in drag reduction for high-performance vehicles
    • Experience working with 2D airfoil modeling tools such as Xfoil and M(I)SES and associated design techniques
    • Knowledge of flight test data processing and analysis methods, including classical signal processing, root cause analysis, input data screening and least squares estimation
    • Proficiency with industry standard 3D potential flow tools such as AVL and CFD tools such as FUN3D or StarCCM
    • Experience with lofting and surfacing in Solidworks, NX, and/or CATIA
    • Familiarity with aerodynamic database requirements for aircraft simulators
    • Good understanding of FAR 23, 25 or 27
    • Experience with Matlab, Python, VBA, or equivalent
    • Strong written, communication, and organizational skills

Desired:

    • MS or PhD in aerospace engineering
    • 5-10 years of experience working within tiltrotors aircraft programs
    • In depth knowledge of means of compliance development for FAR23 or FAR27 certification projects
    • Experience performing coupled fluid-structure analysis in RCAS, ASWing, or equivalent
    • Familiarity with cloud computing platforms and vendors
    • Good knowledge of HPC hardware and CFD cluster maintenance
    • Experience with thermal flow analyses
    • In depth theoretical and practical knowledge of rotor design and analysis
    • Strategic understanding of flutter “Means of Compliance” development for FAA certification
    • Hands-on experience performing wind tunnel testing, including instrumentation selection
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.