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Prelude Ventures
Prelude Ventures

Senior/Staff Reliability Engineer



Oakland, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Pyka is looking for an experienced reliability engineer to oversee the testing and validation of the aircraft’s subsystems.

You will oversee all aspects of hardware test/validation. On a day-to-day basis this will involve working with the mechanical design engineers to devise test plans and validation campaigns for their hardware. In addition, it will involve executing on those test plans with the help of test engineers, technicians, as well as design engineers.

Your work will have an enormous impact on the success of Pyka’s transition from prototype builds to serial production. In this role you will work directly with key decision makers at the company who will look to you to set the direction on a hardware test/validation. Your work will be prioritized and budgeted for. This will be a technically demanding position with enormous opportunity for ownership.

About Pyka

Pyka’s goal is to provide society with a new form of fast, environmentally friendly, and accessible transportation enabled by autonomous electric aviation.

To get there, we’re taking a different approach than most. We're applying our technologies to every industry where electric aircraft can be useful, starting with the highest value and most dangerous jobs. In doing so, we're building useful, game-changing products manufactured at scale, while perfecting the safety, reliability, and capabilities of our autonomy engine and electric propulsion systems.

Today, we supply our aircraft to agricultural service providers and farmers as an autonomous tool that makes aerial crop protection safer, more targeted and less harmful to surrounding environments. Our vehicles are highly economical to operate and easy to deploy. What you work on at Pyka makes people’s lives better now and brings the future of electric aviation one-step closer each day.

We design, develop and manufacture an ecosystem of technologies including proprietary flight control software, avionics, high power density motors, motor controllers, batteries, and custom carbon-fiber composite airframes.

We foster a welcoming community within our company that promotes experimentation, asking questions, making simple solutions to complex problems, and expressing different views and opinions. We are a transparent company both internally and externally and do not believe in operating in “stealth mode.” Lastly, we don’t work 60 hour weeks, and don’t expect you to either. In this role you will have a great deal of responsibility, earn a competitive salary and benefits, and contribute to the development of groundbreaking technology.


  • Work closely with the Pyka Mechanical Design team to efficiently validate the operating envelope and reliability/robustness of new designs as well as improve on existing designs based on in-field testing/bug reports.

  • Work with design engineers to devise and execute test plans for new designs. This will involve work in the shop/lab on test stands, as well as on the prototype and production fleets of aircraft.

  • Assess test coverage and create testing strategy

  • Work with all engineering orgs to root cause hardware issues that surface in the field from initial brainstorming to specific test campaigns to reproduce specific issues.

  • Define the standard for hardware validation processes and documentation.

  • Leverage your technical leadership expertise in hardware design and test to establish a team culture that biases toward action and tests ideas.

  • Use data to estimate system lifetime and reliability

  • Support the development of the hardware test team build-out (hiring/training).

Note: This role will initially be an IC role with the opportunity to manage a team as the company grows.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent experience) with 6-8+ years of related work experience
  • Past experience working on production of a complex safety critical product (aviation, space, automotive, medical, etc.)
  • Extremely strong critical thinking skills and attention to subtle details of hardware

  • Extremely strong ability to devise accurate test campaigns and root cause complex and subtle issues

  • A hunger for data, and ability to collect and analyze data in order to accurately validate hypothesis

  • Strong hands-on skills and experience developing simple, robust test stands

  • Strong ability to work in a team environment with the ability to help and mentor team members
  • Experience working in a prototyping environment

  • Instrumentation and data acquisition skills

Company Perks

  • $130,000–190,000 per year base salary + equity. Compensation will vary depending on location, job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. Salary ranges are subject to change.

  • Employer-sponsored health, dental and vision insurance, FSA with employer matching, and 401(k)

  • Paid time off, company holidays, and parental leave

  • Free catered lunch and plenty of snacks

Export Control Requirements

This position requires access to technology, software and other information that is subject to governmental access control restrictions, due to export controls. Employment in this position is conditioned on the continued availability of government authorization to authorize release of such items, to the extent required, including without limitation an export license, or other documentation required to establish authorization to receive access to such items.

Company may delay commencement of employment, rescind an offer of employment, terminate employment, and/or may modify job responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and/or access to Company facilities and information systems, as Company deems appropriate, in order to ensure compliance with applicable government access control restrictions.


We do not work with external recruiters; if you are an external recruiter, please do not reach out.