Flight Controls Tech Lead (Prototyping)

Palo Alto, CA /
Special Projects – Special Projects /
Here at Kittyhawk in Palo Alto, we are developing ground breaking all-electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  Our Special Projects group is working on the future of electric flight and you will be part of a small team that is focused on iterating quickly.  

You will be integral to the development of novel aircraft configurations, assessing the feasibility of potentially revolutionary and ultra-efficient concepts. The position is best suited for a fast learner who is enthusiastic about a broad range of disciplines and skill sets . This is not a traditional aerospace position and because of the unique nature of our prototypes, we need candidates who are willing to work outside of their comfort zone and challenge conventional thinking.

Core Responsibilities:

    • Lead development of control algorithms and flight physics simulators for traditional and novel aircraft prototype concepts
    • Serve as a strong individual contributor as well as a tech lead for a small team (2-3) of controls/software engineers
    • Lead hiring for controls and software engineers as project goals evolve
    • Work collaboratively with avionics, mechanical, and aerodynamic engineers on the broader team
    • Flight test the concepts you build!

Required Qualifications:

    • MS or PhD in a controls-related field
    • Project experience designing and implementing flight control algorithms on real flying platforms, ideally with both multirotor and fixed-wing aircraft
    • Knowledge of rigid-body aircraft dynamics and stability
    • Experience with C++
    • Interest in guiding the work of a small controls/software team and mentoring junior engineers
    • Interest in prototyping a wide variety of aircraft concepts

Desired (Optional) Qualifications:

    • Familiarity with open-source autopilots: PX4/Pixhawk, Ardupilot/APM
    • Experience with git, ROS, Python, Matlab
    • Experience with autonomy, path planning, and coordination of multiple UAVs (swarming)
    • RC aircraft piloting / hobby experience
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.