Systems Engineer
Kitty Hawk
 Palo Alto, CA
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 the Heaviside project. In this role 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 often competing engineering goals. Is a change to simplify the fault tree for the vehicle worth the extra mass? Is an effect we think we are seeing in flight test real, and if so what are the implications? As the first dedicated systems engineer in the team, it will be your job to delve into these questions and pull the best capability across the team into coherent analysis.

Within 3 months you will:

  • Collate existing vehicle requirements
  • 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

Within 6 months you will:

  • Modify requirements according to test learnings
  • Develop and improve data analysis techniques for use on flight and ground test results

Within 9 months you will:

  • Own the fault management of the system
  • Hypothesize system level improvements and do the trade to determine if they should be implemented
  • Make major decisions on where we put our engineering effort, based on flight test and ground test learnings

You must have a majority of, but not all, of the following experience and skills:

  • Significant experience in systems engineering in a related program, in addition to at minimum a bachelor’s degree in a related 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 would 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 rolePrevious 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.