An electric, vertical takeoff drone lifts a manned glider 5 km in the air. The glider is then released from the drone, and glides 50 km to carry its passengers across a lake. The drone meanwhile simply descends vertically back to the ground to where it took off from, without passengers or a pilot on board.
Would this sort of “glide slide” be viable? Is it a way of realizing the advantages of electric flight (in niche situations, for very short flights across physical barriers like Great Lakes) while minimizing the problem of battery weight? And of realizing the benefits of gliding without needing a towplane (which in turn requires a second pilot, a runaway, etc.)?
[Or perhaps, alternatively, instead of having a vertical takeoff drone lift a glider, you could have an electric plane which takes off on a runway but then drops its batteries by parachute back down to earth once the plane reaches altitude, and then the plane glides the rest of the way...]
And what about pushing the concept to far more extreme lengths even? Instead of rising vertically 5 km and then gliding 50 km diagonally back down to earth, what about a (much smaller) glider being lifted 20 km vertically and then gliding 1000 km across?
I know nothing, so would love some feedback here.