Goethe said that “By seeking and blundering we learn “.
Well I am not so sure that I would like to start a career in engineering knowing I was blundering in order to learn. But his point is bluntly put - that what we call knowledge is gained through making mistakes. In other words, engineers push the envelope in design, making things bigger or lighter until they fail and then seeking out what went wrong. In some cases, this leads to fundamental research to capture the laws of nature in formulae. In other cases, it leads to best practice or rules. This is how the aerospace industry has made flying one of the safest modes of transport.