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Prelude Ventures
Prelude Ventures

Senior Mechanical Design Engineer — Electric Powertrain System



Oakland, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Pyka is looking for a Senior Mechanical Design Engineer who will become the DRE for Pyka’s custom electric motor and propeller systems. In this role you will work with internal teams and external vendors to design, test, manufacture, and improve critical components of our electric propulsion system.

Candidates who enjoy fast-paced environments, have a passion for taking products from early development to manufacturing at scale, and enjoy working with a small dedicated team will thrive in this role.

In the first six months you will:

  • Design, prototype, and test aerodynamic motor fairings to improve overall aircraft efficiency and environmental robustness

  • Work with our Electrical Engineering team to develop bench test procedures and fixtures for endurance testing of propulsion systems.

  • Collaborate with a contract motor manufacturer to improve motor reliability and performance in harsh environmental conditions

  • Work with propeller vendor to improve the performance, reliability, and robustness of our propeller systems

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.


  • Improve the reliability, manufacturability, and performance of existing propulsion system designs (motors, and propellers)

  • Drive the conceptual design, prototyping, testing, iteration, and documentation of new propulsion system designs

  • Address and thoroughly root cause issues found during operations and testing

  • Manage timelines and projects coordinating across teams at Pyka to ensure that key milestones are met and resources are efficiently utilized

  • Create 3D CAD, drawings, and manufacturing documents with meticulous attention to detail

  • Work with our manufacturing teams as well as third party vendors to build tools and processes to facilitate accurate and consistent manufacture of subsystems

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 4+ years of experience designing, testing, and deploying electric motor systems on vehicles

  • Deep knowledge of the physics, failure modes, and design practices relating to motors

  • Experience developing propeller driven propulsion systems

  • Proven record of taking ideas from napkin sketches to manufactured products

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • Experience designing and implementing test programs to improve hardware robustness

  • Attention to detail and ability to root cause complex hardware problems

  • Values simplicity and pace in both the way you design and the way you work

  • Expertise in any 3D CAD package (Solidworks, NX, Inventor)

  • Experience using FEA and hand calculations to validate mechanical designs

  • Ability and excitement to be in a prototyping shop building things with your hands

  • Degree in Mechanical Engineering or related field

Company Perks

  • $130,000–$160,000 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.