Senior Guidance, Navigation, and Control Software Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Special Projects – Special Projects /
Here at Kitty Hawk in Palo Alto, we are developing ground breaking all-electric Vertical Take off 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.  

This is not a traditional aerospace position. You will help support the development of novel aircraft configurations at the edge of feasibility, exploiting vehicle capabilities to achieve ultra-efficient flight. The position is best suited for a fast learner, who is enthusiastic about a lot of different areas. Over time you will likely participate in controls, estimation, perception, simulation, modeling, data analysis, visualization, motion planning, flight testing, and so on. This is not a traditional position and because of the unique nature of our product, we need candidates who are able to work outside of their comfort zone. 

Within 1 month you will:

    • Get to know your teammates and help us create the work environment that brings out your best work
    • Start exploring the codebase and coming up to speed with our tools and development practices
    • Witness first hand our design and implementation iteration cycles
    • Submit your first pull request!

Within 3 months you will:

    • Help prototype controls and estimation code for unique aircraft configurations, first in simulation, followed by real flight testing
    • Help improve our data analysis and visualization pipeline
    • Participate in a small-scale aerial flight demonstration, that exercises code you wrote!


    • Hands-on experience with flying vehiclesDeep understanding of one of controls, estimation, or motion planning
    • Experience with writing software
    • Comfortable with very small teams, quick & open-ended problem solving, and rapid iteration 
    • Compassionate, collaborative attitude


    • Strong understanding of controls, estimation, and motion planning
    • Systems approach to problem solving
    • Experience with C++, Julia, ROS, ROS2
    • Experience with git, CI systems, testing
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, 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.