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Director, Airworthiness and Certification



South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2023

About Zipline

Do you want to change the world? Zipline is on a mission to transform the way goods move. Our aim is to solve the world’s most urgent and complex access challenges by building, manufacturing and operating the first instant delivery and logistics system that serves all humans equally, wherever they are. From powering Rwanda’s national blood delivery network and Ghana’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, to providing on-demand home delivery for Walmart, to enabling healthcare providers to bring care directly to U.S. homes, we are transforming the way things move for businesses, governments and consumers. The technology is complex but the idea is simple: a teleportation service that delivers what you need, when you need it. Through our technology that includes robotics and autonomy, we are decarbonizing delivery, decreasing road congestion, and reducing fossil fuel consumption and air pollution, while providing equitable access to billions of people and building a more resilient global supply chain.
Join Zipline and help us to make good on our promise to build an equitable and more resilient global supply chain for billions of people.

About You and The Role

As the Director of Airworthiness and Certification you will own Zipline’s Aircraft Certification efforts. We are looking for a versatile technical leader, strong in both strategy and execution with proven success achieving and expanding aviation regulatory approvals in novel programs. Certification is a key enabler driving us forward to achieve our ambitious mission of providing every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies.

What You'll Do

You will serve as the hands-on leader for not only Type Certification, but also continuing to ensure expansion and compliance of our design approvals over time in alignment with our mission objectives. In addition to being the primary technical interface with the FAA (and other international aviation certification authorities), you will also lead Zipline to achieve our cross-functional certification objectives. Here are some examples of challenges you’ll tackle:

  • Leading and growing a right-sized, world-class Certification team.
  • Setting and communicating Type Certification program objectives and priorities including owning the plan for when we will achieve a high level regulatory objective all the way to specific document submission dates.
  • Liaising with the relevant certification authorities (primarily the FAA) to establish a certification basis (G-1) and means of compliance (G-2) for a novel new small uncrewed aircraft design.
  • Leading strategy and issue papers to define new approaches for scaled autonomous aircraft operations in complex airspace including Detect and Avoid for Beyond Visual Line of Sight flight, automated and remote preflight checks, uncrewed aircraft to uncrewed aircraft communication standards, rules based flight route approval, and more.
  • Developing test plans and other compliance artifacts to show compliance in the certification program.
  • Ensuring critical cross-team efforts are well owned (including owning some yourself) such as driving to agreement with the FAA on adequate detect and avoid performance as well as the internal plan to exceed it, resolving a critical safety issue, or ensuring compliance with a cross-cutting regulatory requirement.
  • Leading cross-functional regulatory milestone readiness reviews, assuring the cross-functional teams are aligned and the program is ready to submit a major Type Certification amendment.
  • Ensuring consistency and currency with the latest design in our regulated documents such as the UAS Flight Manual (UFM), UAS Maintenance Manual (UMM), Critical Parts Lists, Concept of Operations, and more.
  • Collaborating closely with the global policy team to ensure policy initiatives align with aviation regulatory objectives.

What You'll Bring

  • You are a quick learner passionate about helping Zipline and the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and UAS industry get off the ground and to high volume operations.
  • You have been responsible for at least a portion of a Type Certification, Type Certification Amendment, or Supplemental Type Certification program(s) with the FAA and/or EASA.
  • You have the aviation experience to both help us see around corners with certification authorities such as the FAA and the credibility to present our positions to them with confidence.
  • You are excited about working with certification authorities to shape sensible and data-driven regulations and UAS best practices.
  • You have the engineering background and experience to meaningfully engage with internal engineering teams, as well as be the OEM technical lead to certification authorities.
  • You have worked in fast-paced, high-growth environments like startups.
  • You have the grit, resourcefulness, and resilience to thrive in novel, uncertain and constantly-changing business and regulatory environments.

What Else You Need to Know

The starting cash range for this role is $150,000 - $180,000. 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, ancestry, national origin, religion or religious creed, mental or physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship, or other characteristics protected by state, federal or local law or our other policies.
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!