I've heard the claim repeated many times that some modern fighter jets have an installed thrust greater than their weight, so theoretically they could accelerate straight up.
I've never actually heard of this being done, however. It sounds useful, though, especially on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Imagine: we could take out the whole catapult system, and replace it with some sort of a system to pick up an aircraft and turn it vertical.
Why is this not done?