Foam Plate Glider

large fpg9 graphic
Foam Plate Glider with Flaperons

Build a model FPG-9. Get others to make their own model, then organize a competition to test the precision of flight and landing of the models.

Lift force
Some of the simplest models effectively demonstrate complex engineering challenges. This glider design is easy to make from low-cost supermarket materials.

Foam Plate and Plastic Straw Gliders

Straight and level

This simple design provides all the control surfaces that are incorporated into modern aircraft. Work through the design and build process for the Glider, to reverse-engineer the pattern.

  • Ask – Come up with a better way to demonstrate the forces and control surfaces for glider (un-powered) flight.
  • Imagine – People have been making paper airplanes as the demonstration model. However, these are either poor fliers or very difficult to make accurately enough to demonstrate the differences that small changes in the structure of the plane make. Consider some other materials. They must be cheap and easily available. The design must clearly show how the parts of the plane’s wing and tail change its flight.
  • Plan, Create – These model gliders will be made by kids of all ages and abilities. Make the design simple so everyone can make one that works. Provide instructions that are clear so that anyone can follow them. Tell them what the final glider looks like and how it is supposed to work.
  • Improve – Some people follow directions. Some people don’t. Some people prefer to look at pictures. Everyone should be able to make a glider that works.

That’s engineering

Engineering ideas

  • aerodynamics, lift, force, drag, thrust, gravity, inclined plane

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • improve the directions for making the glider
  • describe the adjustments to make to the control surfaces and what they will do
  • Build a model FPG-9. Get others make their own model, then organize a competition to test the precision of flight and landing of the models. video, pattern resources
  • Flight Adventures game – online tutorial and practice flying the FPG-9 glider

Learn more…

  • Come Fly with Me lessons, hands on activities. Exploring Science through aviation and aerospace concepts.