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Mechanical Engineering Manager - Platform 2 Aircraft Lead (Structures and Mechanisms)



Software Engineering, Other Engineering
South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2023

Platform 2 Aircraft Lead - Structures and Mechanisms

South San Francisco | Structures, Mechanisms, and Hardware Integration | Full-Time

About Zipline

Do you want to change the world? Zipline uses drones to deliver critical and lifesaving medicine to thousands of hospitals serving millions of people in multiple countries. Our mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. Join Zipline and help us make this a reality for billions of people.

About You and The Role

Zipline is hiring a Mechanical Engineering Manager that is excited to support the scaling of life saving operations in the field as well as execute clean sheet innovative designs for our next generation of autonomous aircraft, known as Platform 2. Platform 2 represents a groundbreaking innovation for Zipline as we prepare to manufacture 100's of thousands of these life-saving drones, making it our most ambitious and impactful project to date. This is not just another drone project; it's a game-changing hybrid eVTOL that will revolutionize the way life-saving products are delivered around the world.

As the lead of this team, you will be responsible for leading a multidisciplinary team of mechanical engineers with broad cross-functional engagement to deliver lightweight safety critical structures, control and propulsion mechanisms, and flight vehicle safety systems. This effort will enable Zipline’s impact to expand from 100’s of thousand deliveries/year to 100’s of millions in a wide variety of environmental conditions around the world. This person will be responsible for ensuring functional design and integration of all of the components in our main aircraft and leading the team through the inevitable challenges to come in our next phase of development. This includes root causing, strategic mitigation, and guaranteeing successful trajectory beyond that point. This leader will act as a player-coach who is as comfortable providing strategic vision as they are being in the weeds of the team's designs.

Zipline is integrated into national health care systems and we are responsible for rapid delivery of life saving products. We engineer our systems to be efficient, reliable, and easy to maintain. The ideal candidate will have an outstanding technical background, and enjoys leading and growing engineers as they continue to revolutionize the supply chain and logistic industry. The success of this team is vital to the success of Zipline overall.

What You'll Do

  • Develop lightweight safety critical structures that can be manufactured at high volume with responsibility for all load cases, vehicle structural dynamics, safety factors/margin and material properties.
  • Work closely with Aerodynamics and Guidance Navigation & Controls teams to optimize vehicle configurations and outer mold lines
  • Design simple, low cost mechanisms for flight control surfaces, propulsion actuation and payload deployment, and demonstrate performance and lifetime reliability through component/subsystem testing.
  • Develop industry-leading safety systems from the ground up for scaled operations in populated areas.
  • Lead vehicle level package/layout to ensure optimum center of gravity location, lowest flight vehicle mass/maximum payload, and maintain dynamic clearances
  • Drive vehicle level datuming/tolerancing strategy to achieve excellent manufacturability/serviceability.

To achieve this you will:

  • Leverage your technical leadership experience in relevant fields to establish a team culture that biases towards action and tests ideas to achieve radically simple designs.
  • Motivate your team with a clear vision and create ambitious plans for your team’s work while holding a high bar for technical quality
  • Build your team by hiring world class engineers

What You'll Bring

  • Past success leading engineering teams to rapidly develop first of its kind hardware and deploy into the field with the level of rigor that a high volume or safety critical application requires.
  • Deep technical depth in structures, mechanisms or safety system design. You have made impactful and direct contributions at the architectural level in your career.
  • Enthusiasm for building a team - finding and convincing top talent to join you in your work.
  • Past success managing and developing an excellent team of engineers.
  • Past success bringing products through the full product development life cycle using high volume manufacturing practices.


The starting cash range for this role is $170,000 - $210,000. Please note that this is a target, starting cash range for a candidate who meets the minimum qualifications for this role. The final cash pay for this role will depend on a variety of factors, including a specific candidate's experience, qualifications, skills, working location, and projected impact. The total compensation package for this role may also include: equity compensation; discretionary annual or performance bonuses; sales incentives; benefits such as medical, dental and vision insurance; paid time off; and more.

Zipline is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws or our own sensibilities.

We value diversity at Zipline and welcome applications from those who are traditionally underrepresented in tech. If you like the sound of this position but are not sure if you are the perfect fit, please apply!