The F-16XL #1 (NASA 849) takes off for the first flight of the Digital Flight Control System (DFCS) on December 16, 1997. Like most first flight, the DFCS required months of preparations. During July 1997, crews worked on the engine, cockpit, canopy, seat, and instrumentation. By late August, the aircraft began combined systems tests and a flight readiness review. Although the Air Force Safety Review Board (AFSRB)- a group that provided double checks on all flight operations - approved the program in late November 1997, a problem with the aircraft flight computer delayed the functional check flight until mid-December.