Senior Systems Engineer

Palo Alto, CA
Heaviside – Engineering
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.

Here at Kitty Hawk, where a century of aviation practices meets technology breakthroughs and a world-class engineering team, things are looking up. In 1903, the Wright brothers took flight for the first time from the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Our journey started by designing, testing and building all-electric vertical take-off and landing products for work and play. Today, in California, we are building on the Wright Brothers’ legacy to create the next generation of vehicles for everyday flight.

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 are located in Palo Alto and Hollister, with great access to nice outdoor spaces as well as to airports at both locations. 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), commuter assistance, and education assistance. And on top of all that, we also offer a variety of perks such as free catered lunches and snacks, flight lessons, happy hours and many more.

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.