A group of 1950s NACA research aircraft

As used here, an experimental or research and development aircraft, sometimes also called an X-plane, is one which is designed or substantially adapted to investigate novel flight technologies.[1][2][3]





Canadair CL-84 Dynavert tilt-wing VTOL research aircraft


Breguet-Dorand Gyroplane Laboratoire
SNECMA Coléoptère experimental tailsitter in 1959


Dornier Do 29 tilt rotor STOL
Heinkel He 178 pioneering turbojet-powered aircraft
Opel RAK.1 rocket engine research aircraft


Caproni-Campini N.1/CC.2 experimental motorjet and second jet aircraft to fly



Gasuden Koken

Russia/Soviet Union

Antonov A-40 tank glider
Bartini Beriev VVA-14 Ekranoplan
Yakovlev Yak-36 VTOL research vehicle


Cierva C.6 autogiro



United Kingdom

Avro 707 research aircraft in formation with Avro Vulcan bomber prototypes
Fairey Delta 2 research aircraft
Gloster E.28/39 jet engine research aircraft
Miles M.35 Libellula canard research aircraft
Rolls-Royce thrust measuring rig VTOL testbed

United States

Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft
Bell X-5 variable-sweep wing testbed
North American X-15 hypersonic rocket-powered research aircraft


Main article: List of X-planes

Grumman X-29 forward swept wing and stability research aircraft

Other experimental types

US Army Bell 533 high speed helicopter research aircraft
XFV-12A on ramp at NAA in Columbus, Ohio
Scaled Composites Proteus in flight during 2002 for US Department of Energy ARM-UAV program
Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae high-altitude research aircraft – confirmed existence of jet stream
Lifting body research aircraft – from left to right, X-24A, M2-F3 and HL-10
Northrop N-9M flying wing
Vought V-173 disk wing research aircraft

See also


  1. ^ Hygate, Barrie. British Experimental Jet Aircraft. Argus. 1990.
  2. ^ Suturtivant, Ray. British Research and Development Aircraft. Haynes. 1990.
  3. ^ Burney, Allan (Editor). British X-planes: The Jet Era. Aeroplane Illustrated: Aviation Archive Series. Key Aero. 2015.
  4. ^ "Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet A1 TST". Retrieved 12 Aug 2015.
  5. ^ Axe, David. "One of These 'Bots Will Be the Navy's Next Killer Drone". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2022-12-04.
  6. ^ Gibbs, Yvonne (6 August 2015). "NASA Armstrong Fact Sheet: Lockheed JetStar Research Aircraft". NASA. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  7. ^ Eckland, K.O. (2009-04-25). "Aerofiles Vought (Chance Vought), Lewis & Vought, Vought-Sikorsky". USA: Aerofiles.com. Retrieved 20 September 2011.