Would it be possible to use pure gliders as an eco-friendly mode of transport?
From what I have read so far, gliders can travel at a speed of 100-170 km/h. That would not be able to compete with a jet plane, but it could easily be faster than a car, and possibly even a high-speed train, since it can fly directly and doesn't have to follow train tracks.
So, would it be possible to build a glider that fills this arbitrary set of requirements that would qualify it for regular travel:
- It needs to be able to carry at least 30 people plus luggage. Otherwise the pilots are much too expensive.
- It needs to be able to fly regularly, only being inhibited by severe weather.
- It needs to qualify for international, commercial passenger service in all matters (safety equipment, radio, ...)
- It doesn't need to be able to fly around the year, pre-plannable months without service are acceptable.
- It doesn't need to work with current infrastructure, e.g. it would be acceptable if the plane needs special runways and/or launching mechanisms.
Would it theoretically be possible to build something like this?