History of the Tailsitter Airplanes
The Dark Roasted Blend blog today:
A vertical takeoff, level flight and a tail landing - first VTOL concepts
These flying wonders, so called "Tailsitter" airplanes, are truly remarkable pieces of aviation history: mainly designed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, they were essentially an early attempt to eliminate the necessity of runways.
In the later stages of WWII the German company Focke Wulf came up with a spectacular design for a tailsitting fighter: the Triebflügeljäger. The idea was to create an airplane that would take off and land vertically on its tail. With the Allied bombardment devastating the country's armaments industry it was crucial for the Germans to have interceptors that could take off and protect German factories on a short notice. The idea was to station fighters near industrial areas and to get them into the air without the use of increasingly bombarded runways. However, the design came too late in the war for it to reach a prototype or any production stage.
Lots of pictures at the blog here.