Principal Materials Engineer

Sunnyvale, California /
Engineering /
We are an aerospace R&D company building experimental and certified airships. We are developing advanced technologies to dramatically increase the capabilities and lower the cost of 21st-century airships.

LTA’s airships will have the ability to complement and even speed up humanitarian disaster response and relief efforts, especially in remote areas that cannot be easily accessed by plane and boat due to limited or destroyed infrastructure. We ultimately aim to create a family of aircraft with zero emissions that, when used for shipping goods and moving people, would substantially reduce the global carbon footprint of aviation.

We’re seeking an experienced Principal Materials Engineer to help us build a ‘lighter than air’ flight vehicle. This position will innovate and execute the materials supply chain, as well as lead a team of engineers and technicians to advance our goal of bringing revolutionary airships to life. We believe in fast-cycle research and development, with the motto “build a little, test a little, learn a lot.”


    • Responsible for identifying materials used in airships:
    • Soft structures including gas cells, envelope materials, ropes, and cabling
    • Airframe including adhesives, composites, and metals
    • Rigid tanks for fuels, cryogens, and trim control
    • Energy conversion devices including IC engines, fuel cells, and solar cells

    • Materials supply chain and vendor identification:
    • Identifies strategic materials partners
    • Helps external contractors with materials consulting

    • Qualifying materials:
    • Hands-on materials characterization using common, mechanical, chemical, surface analysis, and thermal tools
    • Training and supervision of technicians and junior engineers in analytical methods
    • Outsourcing materials tests when appropriate

    • Specification of materials:
    • Writing specifications for materials
    • Participation in FAA certification of materials

    • Innovation in Materials:
    • Finding the path to improved airship performance through advanced materials
    • Communication and evangelism for materials with all levels of management 


    • Minimum BS engineering. Advanced degree preferred
    • Minimum 15 years relevant experience, preference for aerospace
    • Hands-on experience with analytical tools
    • Demonstrated success in driving innovation from concept to a shipping product
    • Preference for familiarity with FAA certification process 

Physical Requirements

    • Should be able to perform lightweight physical activities relating to supervision of construction on an airship
    • Activities could include climbing ladders or carrying objects less than 25Kg in weight or working with hand tools or instruments

Lighter Than Air offers medical, dental, vision, and retirement benefits.

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.