An experimental aircraft is an aircraft that has not yet been fully proven in flight. Often, this implies that new aerospace technologies are being tested on the aircraft, though the label is more broad.
The term "experimental aircraft" is usually used to refer to aircraft flown with an experimental category airworthiness certificate. 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. 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.
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