Experimental aircraft

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A LTV XC-142 experimental V/STOL aircraft.

An experimental aircraft is an aircraft intended for testing new aerospace technologies and design concepts or which is self-made by aviation amateur(s).

The term "experimental aircraft" also has legal meaning. It is usually used to refer to aircraft flown with an experimental category airworthiness certificate.[1] In the United States, this also includes most homebuilt aircraft, many of which are based on conventional designs and hence are in experimental category only in name because of certain restrictions in operation.[2]

The term research aircraft or testbed aircraft, by contrast, generally denotes aircraft modified to perform scientific studies, such as weather research or geophysical surveying, similar to a research vessel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 14CFR 21.175, US Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved 2018-01-12
  2. ^ 14CFR 21.191, US Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved 2018-01-12