Senior Systems Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Engineering /
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 a Systems Engineer to join Project Heaviside. You will play a crucial role in making sure that everyone on the team is building the same aircraft, and assist the team in making challenging tradeoffs between engineering, certification, and product goals. Is a change to simplify the fault tree for the vehicle worth the extra mass? Are systems getting too interdependent for effective program management? Is an effect that we think we are seeing in flight test real and, if so, what are the implications? It will be your job to delve into these questions and pull the best capability across the team into coherent analysis and company direction.

Within 3 months you will:

    • Become an expert both in the overall vehicle and in your area of specialization
    • Expand on system fault trees
    • Develop test cases and design ground validation tests to support requirements validation
    • Become familiar with flight test data and vehicle performance as well as limitations
    • Own one or more likely multiple major systems issues

Within 6 months you will:

    • Develop and improve data analysis techniques for use on flight and ground test results
    • Guide engineering decisions
    • Own requirements for a major subsystem

Within 9 months you will:

    • Make major decisions on aircraft and system design
    • Own the conversation with regulatory agencies for a significant set of systems or functions on the aircraft
    • Provide program management and direction for the design engineering organization

You must have a majority of, but not all, of the following experience and skills:

    • Significant experience in systems engineering in a related program ideally paired with a Bachelor’s degree or higher in an engineering field
    • Experience with developing ground tests for complex hardware
    • Strong data analysis skills. Experience with model validation on complex systems with hard to model dynamics
    • Strong background in at least some of the relevant disciplines (dynamics and control, aerodynamics, mechanisms, composite structures, power electronics, electrical engineering, human factors)

Ideally you also have the following:

    • A pilot’s license or experience in related areas of flight such as RC model aircraft, paragliding, hang gliding, etc.
    • Previous experience in a technical leadership role
    • Previous experience with requirements derivation and tracking
    • Significant hands on design/build time on hard engineering programs
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.