Thermal Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Propulsion /
Here at Kittyhawk in Palo Alto, we are developing ground breaking all-electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  Project Heaviside is Kittyhawk’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. 

In this role, you will be a key member of Heaviside’s propulsion team, responsible for system and subsystem thermal analysis across the battery electric powertrain and aircraft subsystems. Responsibilities include developing strategy, tools, and methods to design and develop thermal management systems for eVTOL powertrains and associated systems via execution of thermal analyses across varying levels of fidelity and functionality to inform design decisions for motors, batteries, cabin enclosures, and electronics boxes.

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

    • Develop integrated heat rejection and cooling systems for multiple subsystems, including propulsion batteries, electric motors, aircraft interiors, and electronic systems
    • Size and evaluate thermal management systems, assess tradeoffs, and down-select solutions
    • Work in cross functional teams as a thermal management expert to implement state of the art solutions to heating and cooling challenges
    • Use both analytical methods and simulations to analyze steady state and transient heat transfer, under dynamic power profiles, at the system and subsystem levels 
    • Work with systems engineering and multi-physics simulations to develop a holistic understanding of electric powertrain system performance, specifically as it relates to heat production and rejection
    • Interface with suppliers and contractors to implement prototypes and production elements of the thermal management systems you design
    • Communicate progress and results to various stakeholders


    • Strong understanding of methods for thermal analyses and CFD modeling
    • Depth of experience in heat transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics
    • Practical experience developing thermal management solutions for integrated hardware systems subject to dynamic power profiles
    • Familiarity with thermal management development test methods, analysis of test results, and iterative development engineering based on test learnings 
    • Strong communication and presentation skills
    • 5 years minimum experience in a thermodynamics engineering role
    • Bachelor's degree (or equivalent experience) required
    • Familiarity with systems engineering and aerospace verification is a plus
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, 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.