Test Flight

The Bristol 188 in the Test Flight Hangar at the RAF Museum Midlands

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.

Please note: The Museum regularly undertakes a programme of maintenance and conservation, so some exhibits or Hangars may be temporarily inaccessible. If you are visiting us to see something specific, please contact us in advance to ensure it that it is on display and available for public viewing.