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Addresses the choice between two general approaches to developing aircraft, the development-production approach and the prototype approach. The former calls for early financial commitments, and concentrates resources on getting the components into production with minimum lead times and cost. The latter calls for putting airplanes and subsystems quickly into test so that when decisions are made there can be a good basis for making them. Empirical analysis of data gathered on 12 aircraft programs fails to support the arguments in support of the development-production approach: that those involving large initial commitments have cost less than prototype programs, and that they result in substantially reduced development times.It is concluded that the expedited-prototype approach should be more widely applied to aircraft development programs, particularly where large technological advances are being sought.

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