A survey of some trends in aircraft design was made in an effort to determine the relation between research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT and E) and aircraft mission capability, requirements, and objectives. Driving forces in the history of aircraft include the quest for speed which involved design concepts incorporating jet propulsion systems and low drag features. The study of high speed design concepts promoted new experimental and analytical research techniques. These research techniques, in turn, have lead to concepts offering new performance potential. Design trends were directed toward increased speed, efficiency, productivity, and safety. Generally speaking, the research and development effort has been evolutionary in nature and, with the exception of the transition to supersonic flight, little has occurred since the origin of flight that has drastically changed the basic design fundamentals of aircraft. However, this does not preclude the possibility of dramatic changes in the future since the products of research are frequently unpredictable. Advances should be expected and sought in improved aerodynamics (reduced drag, enhanced lift, flow field exploitation); propulsion (improved engine cycles, multimode engines, alternate fuels, alternate power sources); structures (new materials, manufacturing techniques); all with a view toward increased efficiency and utility.