Director of Soft Structures

Gardnerville, Nevada /
Engineering – Gas Cell /
LTA Research and Exploration, an aerospace start-up, is seeking a motivated Director of Soft Structures to help build and integrate systems onto an experimental ‘lighter than air’ flight vehicle. You will work within a dynamic engineering and design team to conceptualize, rapidly prototype, test, and implement innovative solutions for the design, fabrication, and assembly of large experimental flight vehicles. We believe in fast-cycle development and approach to flight hardware development with the motto "build a little, test a little, learn a lot". This unique position allows for hands-on participation through all phases of development, from concept to flight of an experimental aerospace vehicle.

Our ideal Director of Soft Structures will be a domain expert in their field and should take as much pleasure from developing others as in individual technical contributions.


    • Lead architecture of all soft structures initiatives for the company 
    • Manage a team of roughly 10 Engineers, and supporting technicians developing soft structures including hull covering gas cells, and cordage systems for lighter than air (LTA) vehicles
    • Manage external consultants developing analytical support for soft structure designs
    • Develop Statements of Work (SOW’s) for tasks to be performed under contract and manage collaboration through discussions
    • Manage manufacturing partners including raw materials suppliers, and manufacturers of components and subsystems
    • Draft requirements for deliverables and Incoming Quality Control (IQC) procedures for finished goods
    • Provide site audits and ensure the internal process controls of vendors
    • Manage schedule of deliverables and build contingency plans for critical path items
    • Develop new materials and processes for integration of soft structures into lighter than air vehicles
    • Develop new test methods for inspecting and validating soft goods on a very large scale 
    • Coordinate integration and installation training activities with the internal operations team
    • Be the internal expert for all parts of the company for issues relating to soft structures or their interfaces to other subsystems 


    • BS in engineering, textiles, or related field and 15 years related experience (MS or Ph.D. preferred)
    • Experience in a prior managerial role or took a lead position on past projects   
    • Experience with the design of soft structures for LTA vehicles or other relevant industries where lightweight strong, environmentally stable soft structures are required
    • Aerospace experience highly desirable, especially in the development of type-certified aviation products
    • Technical expertise in the fields of textiles, polymeric films, coating technologies, cordage design, and the methods for design and fabrication of large soft structures including heat sealing, adhesive bonding, sewing, knot and splice design, and the integration of soft structures with rigid frames
    • Demonstrated creativity and innovation as evidenced by a portfolio of creative problem solving and generation of IP
    • Demonstrated tenacity as evidenced by taking a product from ideation to a shipped product
    • Superior people and communication skills
    • Demonstrable success at building, developing, and mentoring a team

Physical Requirements

    • Ability to work in confined spaces and preferably having received confined spaces training
    • Ability to lift and carry 30 lbs

What We Offer!

    • Relocation assistance
    • Excellent medical, dental, and vision insurance through a PPO plan (100% premium paid for individuals, ~70% for dependents)
    • Company-paid life, AD&D, long-term disability, and short-term disability insurances
    • Parental leave
    • Generous PTO + 10 paid holidays
    • 401(k) matching up to 6%
    • Lunch and snacks provided every day, including accommodations for all dietary restrictions
    • Monthly wellness stipend
    • Monthly cell phone stipend
    • Yearly education stipend to obtain certifications or take classes in your field
    • Mental health benefit
    • Fun events, swag, and the occasional airship ride
    • An opportunity to change the world and work with some of the smartest and the most talented experts from different fields

Compliance Requirements

    • Criminal background check clearance
    • Drug Test clearance wherever applicable
    • Fully vaccinated against COVID

LTA Research & Exploration welcomes all candidates to apply including those with limited experience. We understand that candidates with a growth mindset and passion for working on the next chapter in aviation advancement can outweigh experience alone. We celebrate diverse origins and journeys and understand their importance in developing new technology. Rooted in our humanitarian mission, we want to serve the entire globe and have a team that represents those we wish to serve.

Lighter Than Air is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants are considered without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, veteran status or any other discriminatory factors prohibited by law.