Each advance in aircraft technology comes from a great deal of trial and error. Here you see the aircraft that were built to test a new theory or line of research. Most of these exhibits were produced in secrecy, often utilising components borrowed from other types. These were the machines that helped Britain open new frontiers of flight.
Before the advent of computers and sophisticated simulators, highly skilled pilots had to test fly these aircraft. Each in its own way reached into hitherto unknown realms of risk, often with tragic results but, eventually led to well known successes like the Hunter, Victor, Vulcan, Lightning and Concorde.
See Research & Development aircraft in Test Flight.