With all the recent use of the FPG-9, museum staff thought it might be fun to recollect on the glider’s development.
For those of you who don’t know, the Foam Plate Glider 9 inch (FPG-9) is a simple glider made from a foam plate, with a penny in the nose for weight. It was originally designed by Jack Reynolds, a volunteer at the Museum. In 2002, Museum staff, upon returning from an outreach program, complained that very few kids had brought in egg carton lids to build “Priceless Fun” gliders.
Mr. Reynolds, who happened to be listening to the complaints, returned the next day and asked “What do you think about this?” while he launched a prototype of the FPG-9. As the airplane floated across the room, museum staff were immediately intrigued – even more so when Mr. Reynolds talked about how he and his grandchild experimented with various stuff from around the house to build an airplane. The end result was the FPG-9, the design of which he gave to the AMA.
The only difference between the prototype and the design in use is the addition of a small front “bumper” to hold and protect the penny.
The FPG-9 has grown up a bit since those first flights, and now is the star of not only the AMA’s Aerolab program, but also The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ CSI Flight Adventures, and soon will be one of Alcoa Corporation’s worldwide education outreach programs.
For further information on FPG-9 history and design, there are two articles available from Model Aviation as a pdf: MA-May-2003-FPG9 and MA-June-1997-Priceless-Fun.
My club helps kids make and trim these gliders. They are always a huge hit and we’ll give away a couple hundred during a two-day event. To make them in these numbers, the trick is to keep the plates stacked, trace one shape onto the top plate, and then use a bandsaw to cut the shape out.
The link “Click here for additional FPG-9 plans, instructions, and activities.” is not working. Can you update it?
Thanks for letting us know! The link has been updated now. Have fun!