Controls 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.

Do you like to fly aircraft? Do you like to make aircraft fly themselves? Are you the kind of engineer who not only writes the controls but also can incorporate control laws into a complex codebase?  We are growing our extremely small GNC team as we build highly augmented manned airplanes as well as autonomous flight vehicles. Challenges include a wide variety of topics ranging from low level controls and optimal actuation strategies to autonomous flight, navigation and air traffic management.

We place a large emphasis on frequent flight tests at the corners of the envelope with recent code builds, so this role carries both significant opportunity and responsibility as you will  test your work on large and complex aircraft in non-idealized conditions.


    • M.S. or PhD in Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science, or some significant equivalent background in control of real and complex systems
    • Knowledge of control and estimation theory
    • Practical experience with design and implementation of control systems on flight vehicles
    • Strong linear algebra and calculus skills
    • Strong software engineering skills


    • Good grasp of aerodynamics and aircraft/helicopter flight dynamics
    • Experience with common sensors
    • Experience with machine vision
    • Background in optimization
    • Background in probability
    • Familiarity with Unix environment and embedded software
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.