Senior Avionics Hardware Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Hardware Engineering /
Here at Kitty Hawk in Palo Alto, we are developing ground breaking 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. 

As a member of Heaviside’s small avionics team, you will work on a variety of aircraft systems from the triplex flight computer to the air data system.  We encourage our engineers to take cradle to grave ownership of systems, 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.

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

    • Architecture design for redundancy and fault tolerance
    • Digital and analog circuit design, PCB layout, board bring-up
    • Design for reliability in high vibration and high temperature environments
    • Design for manufacture both for PCBAs and top level assemblies
    • Sensor integration both digital (I2C, SPI) and analog (ADC / signal conditioning)
    • Communication interfaces and protection (RS-485, RS-422, Ethernet)


    • Experience designing and testing hardware to DO-160
    • Experience with requirements, FMEA, FTA, and systems engineering
    • Experience with high speed digital interfaces (SGMII, DDR4, etc.)
    • Embedded C programming in microcontrollers
    • Scripting and automation in Python
    • Linux command line

Within 3 Months You Will:

    • Become familiar with our aircraft’s avionics, sensors, and redundancy approach
    • Help integrate, debug, and test electronics on our aircraft
    • Get to know our shared embedded codebase and related tools

Within 6 Months You Will:

    • Take ownership of a large subsystem
    • Leading support for current hardware while planning and executing revisions for added functionality or optimized operation
    • 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.

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, 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, 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.