The first YF-16 (#72-1567) was rebuilt in December 1975 to become the USAF Flight Dynamics Laboratory's Control Configured Vehicle (CCV). CCV aircraft have independent or "decoupled" flight control surfaces, which make it possible to maneuver in one plane without movement in another -- for example, turning without having to bank.
F-16/CCV with the disctinctive canards underneath the intake. (LMTAS photo)
The CCV YF-16 was fitted with twin vertical canards added underneath the air intake, and flight controls were modified to permit use of wing trailing edge flaperons acting in combination with the all moving stabilator. The fuel system was adapted, so that by transferring fuel from one tank to another, the position of the aircraft center of gravity could be adjusted.
The YF-16/CCV flew for the first time on March 16, 1976, piloted by David J. Thigpen. On June 24, 1976, it was seriously damaged in a crash landing. While still more than half a mile out, the engine suffered from a loss of power and in the resulting crash landing the landing gear collapsed. Repairs took over 6 months, and its flight test program was resumed in the spring of 1977. The last flight of the YF-16/CCV was on June 31st, 1977, after 87 sorties and 125 air hours had been logged.
A few years later, the F-16/AFTI program would capitalize on the experience gained from this CCV program.