Senior Flight Test Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Flight Test /
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 flight test engineers to join us in testing a new class of all-electric personal aircraft.  You will be working closely with ground test, flight test, avionics, electric propulsion, structural, aerodynamics, and controls engineers to flight test a revolutionary new aircraft.  You will develop test plans, write test cards, participate in flight readiness reviews and hazard analysis, direct ground and flight tests, monitor real-time telemetry, perform data analysis, write test reports and document test results, and troubleshoot issues on the aircraft.  You’re comfortable making decisions in the face of uncertainty. You’re as excited to execute flight test ‘firsts’ as you are to lay the foundation to enable high rate operational flight testing to capture real-world lessons that you learn along the way to make our product even better.

Within 3 months you will:

    • Be familiar with the aircraft and its systems
    • Be familiar with our flight test processes
    • Regularly participate in flight tests
    • Build a flight test campaign and associated processes in support of manned flight

Within 6 months you will:

    • Be fluent with the test aircraft and its systems
    • Be a primary member of a flight team in the GCS
    • Coordinate with multiple teams in support of flight test objectives
    • Execute a flight test campaign in support of manned flight

Within 9 months you will:

    • Lead a flight team as test director
    • Continue to build and execute flight tests based on system changes
    • Design tests to validate aircraft performance and usability in its target application


    • Bachelor's or advanced degree in applicable engineering field, or equivalent
    • 3+ years experience flight testing, preferably in a prototyping or agile operational environment, manned or unmanned
    • Ability to work closely with engineering and other test personnel to design and execute complex tests and operations on fast-paced schedules
    • Proficiency in data analysis with MATLAB, Python, or other scripting tools
    • Hands-on experience with aircraft projects (manned or unmanned)
    • A strong safety culture through the use of SOPs (THA, etc)
    • Comfortable supporting flight tests in an austere environment
    • A passion for flight


    • Private Pilot or higher rating
    • Remote Pilot certificate
    • Experience with first flight efforts of manned aircraft
    • Proficiency with Linux
    • Proficiency in aerodynamics, aircraft performance and/or digital flight controls
    • Proficiency in Solidworks or other 3D CAD package
    • Experience designing, building, and/or debugging electrical circuits and systems
    • Experience working on high voltage systems
    • Experience designing and building mechanical and/or structural systems
    • Experience with version control (SVN, git, etc.) and/or PLM (ePDM, Teamcenter, Windchill, etc.) tools
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.