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Vehicle: Aircraft: Glider
Artificial gliding ridge   (+10, -3)  [vote for, against]
for energy saving transportation

Build a ridge a few hundred metres tall and hundreds or thousands of kilometres long, at an angle to the prevailing winds. This creates an updraught, allowing gliders to travel the length of the ridge. Possible site: Australia, Adelaide to Darwin.
-- spidermother, Feb 01 2006

Glider_20transport_20system [spidermother, Feb 01 2006]

[normzone, Feb 17 2006, last modified Dec 10 2010]

Crash Ratio
That's what a glider has when it does not. [eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 22 2009]

I love this... just because.
-- zigness, Feb 17 2006

I was giving a hitchhiker from back east a ride from Arizona to California, and we passed through the dirt-toy-ridden sand dunes of Glamis.

He asked me it was natural or if we'd built it. I guess there's not a lot of deserts back east [see link].
-- normzone, Feb 17 2006

Hang gliding parks: Have the high hung curtain perpendicular to the prevailing winds; anchor the base of the curtain. Say 300 yards from left to right; slope soar back and forth.
-- joefaust, Sep 11 2007

There are two ridges: one inner, one outer. The other is transparent. The inner is entirely faced with photovoltaics. The gap at the top of the ridge is entirely fenced with Darrieus wind turbines running on a horizontal axis. Net result: virtually free air transport, lots and lots of electric power. More power than you need? No sweat: use the electricity to run enormous high-speed winches for sailplane launches.

Does anyone know what the glide ratio on the old Wacos was? Or God forbid, the Messerschmitt Me 321?
-- elhigh, Sep 11 2007

elhigh, no definitive answer, but [link] suggest close to 1:10.

There is a nice ridge around a lot of south east England, so you don't need to build anything.
-- eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 22 2009

Large gliders can achieve 70:1 or better. [elhigh] Your turbines could be programmed to stop generating while a glider is flying over, allowing free passage of the air, or even act as blowers to increase the updraught. I was thinking of a simple ridge, made of earth and rocks, or a light but strong composite structure, which could even be habitable or otherwise useful, such as to contain covered roads or Morlock caverns.
-- spidermother, Mar 22 2009

// the glide ratio on the old Wacos was? Or God forbid, the Messerschmitt Me 321? //

Wacos have the aerodynamics of a brick, referred to technically as a "controlled plummet" by survivors. The Gigant is actually somewhat better, due to its massive wing area and rather better drag ratio.
-- 8th of 7, Dec 10 2010

random, halfbakery