Richie Valens Crash


New Member
I have a few questions regarding the Richie Valens Crash back in 1958.

1.) The CAB report refers to the DG as being "caged." What do they mean by that?

2.) Can someone explain how the Sperry F3 gyro worked? I understand that sky was on the bottom and dirt was on the top (backwards of today's attitude indicators). Did it also roll opposite?

For those who are wondering where I got this information, the official CAB report can be found here:

Official CAB Report

I think a caged DG is when you press the dial in to calibrate it. While the dial is pressed in and the gears are meshed, I think that is "caged". I could be wrong though.

EDIT: After a little bit of research, it looks like old DG's used to operate a little differently in terms of calibration and ability to recover from certain attitudes. It looks like older DG's and AI's had to be caged (locked into position) in case they tumbled from unusual attitudes. Problem is, I can't find an illustration of an older model.
Some gyros have a caging feature controlled by a knob. When the gryo is caged, is it locked into place. It doesn't move relative to the housing and therefore it can't tumble. You would typically see this kind of gryo in a military or aerobatic plane, although nowadays they have non-tumbling gyros.

I think some of the older gryos did not have as good an erection system and therefore would be left caged until the spun up after engine start. Of course, if you left one caged accidently, it wouldn't do you any good.

Usually caging is associated with the AI. I've never heard of it for the DG.
Thanks guys!

That illustration of the F3 made that instrument more clear to me. I wouldn't want to fly in IMC with that instrument!