Senior Power Electronics Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Avionics /
Full-time
Here at Kittyhawk in Palo Alto, we are developing ground breaking all-electric Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  They are designed to be fast, small, and exceedingly quiet, taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic. 

As a member of Heaviside’s small team, you will work on a variety of aircraft systems, from high voltage motor control and energy storage, to redundant low voltage distribution.  We design/build/test in rapid iteration, so you’ll be an energetic, adaptable engineer who can make sound judgements with limited information.  You will work on all levels of the design, from high-level system architecture to PCB layout.  Your time will be split between design, bench, and flight test as we accelerate the future of aviation.

Responsibilities:

    • Lead the development, from conception through production, of a high voltage three phase inverter system
    • Design to innovate, minimize mass, maximize reliability, meet environmental needs, and mitigate failure
    • Work with other stakeholders and understanding the context of the electrical system, drive requirements, and execute failure mode analysis that results in a traceable, safe design for the target vehicle
    • Identify and work in key technologies to assist in novel design ideas
    • Respond quickly to support, debug, and assist flight operations with stop-flight electrical system issues

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

    • High voltage power electronics (>400V) design and development
    • System and circuit design for redundancy and fault tolerance
    • Thermal management of power electronics
    • Mechanical design for power electronics systems
    • Digital and analog circuit design, PCB layout, board bring-up, etc.
    • Design for reliability in high vibration and high temperature environments
    • Design for manufacture both for PCBAs and top level assemblies
    • Noise emission reduction and susceptibility prevention

Desired

    • Three phase power electronics design and development
    • Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machine (PMSM) motor control
    • Real-time control theory and implementation
    • Battery packs and battery management systems
    • Embedded C programming
    • Scripting and automation in Python

Within 3 Months You Will:

    • Become familiar with our aircraft’s power system and redundancy approach
    • Take charge of a key power electronics subsystem
    • Make decisions through analysis and evaluation of critical power devices for next gen motor controller

Within 6 Months You Will:

    • Take ownership of a motor controller
    • Help guide architectural discussions for our current and future aircraft
    • Mentor junior engineers on best practices and robust design
You should be able to work independently and determine the most fruitful direction to move in, while being an efficient communicator, avid documenter, and integrated team member.

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 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.

Please note that as of August 15, 2021, all persons working on Kittyhawk company premises must provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Applicants may seek an exception through the reasonable accommodation process.

Our headquarters is in Palo Alto and we offer a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, unlimited PTO days, 10 company holidays, a 401(k) plan with 40% company matching (no vesting period), flight lesson subsidy, education assistance, and company-sponsored social events. For those working onsite, Kittyhawk also offers commuter assistance, and free drinks and snacks.

Kittyhawk 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, Kittyhawk 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.

Kittyhawk is an E-Verify employer.