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R&D Engineer

Company: Kitty Hawk
Location: Palo Alto
Posted on: June 8, 2021

Job Description:

Here at Kitty Hawk in Palo Alto, we are developing ground breaking all-electric Vertical Takeoff 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.

We are seeking an R&D engineer for Kitty Hawk's yet-to-be-announced project in environmentally friendly aviation. Our team is focused on rapidly iterating novel concept aircraft that radically change the way we think about flight efficiency.

You should enjoy working on a small team where you will own substantial and critical parts of the final product. You're a team player without an ego, and you're passionate about doing whatever it takes to deliver value. We are working on something that has never been done before, so you'll be energetic, adaptable, and a fast learner who can make quick design judgments with limited information. As a founding member of this group, you will also play a crucial role in growing the team to meet the continuously evolving challenges of this ambitious project.


  • M.S. in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, or related degree
  • Experience working on novel aerodynamic vehicle development through clean sheet design, build, and test
  • Familiarity with aerodynamics, mechatronics, dynamics, and controls, and expertise in at least one of these areas
  • Good communication, problem solving, and organizational skills
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced, dynamic, and highly-interactive startup environment
  • Proficient with rapid prototyping materials, tools, and techniques
  • Ability to be hands on with good physical intuition of aeromechanical vehicles


  • Experience working in an R&D prototype aircraft development environment
  • Familiarity with power electronics, motors controllers, avionics, composite structures, and environmental/reliability testing
  • Familiarity with small-volume manufacturing technologies and methods, and experience in working with outside suppliers for the same
  • Experience with manual and CNC machining (mill, lathe, bandsaws, welding)
  • Composite fabrication and assembly experience
  • Aviation and/or flight related hobbies or pursuits
  • Proficient with 3D modeling using SolidWorks or an equivalent CAD system

Within 3 months you will:

  • Assist in fabricating a prototype small-scale concept aircraft
  • Take ownership of the design, fabrication, and testing of prototype aircraft parts
  • Develop internal design tools to inform future prototype aircraft concept

Within 6 months you will:

  • Take ownership of certain aircraft subsystems
  • Plan and execute flight test operations
  • Help guide high level design discussions for our current and future aircraft

As part of the interview process, you will be expected to present a portfolio of relevant projects, describe specific design contributions that you are most proud of, and effectively convey to the team a relevant topic that is of interest to you.

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.

Keywords: Kitty Hawk, Palo Alto , R&D Engineer, Other , Palo Alto, California

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