I raise The Tale Of The Grumman Albatross VTOL:
Back during the Great South-East-Asian Unpleasantness, a Grumman HU-16 "Albatross" flying boat made an emergency landing on a lake well inside "Indian Country". Rather than allow Uncle Ho's Minions to have their wicked way with the waterfowl, a group of pilots and related flight crew (including the teller of the tale) decided to rescue the benighted bird.
Problem: The lake was not *quite* long enough for the 'tross to achieve liftoff, and still clear the large foliage inconveniently placed 'round the rim.
"Nae problem', sayeth one of the pilots. "We'll bring some RATO tubes with us." That among their number there was not a technician versed in the proper usage of said units was not commented upon at the time.
Our Heroes load themselves into a helicopter, along with their Takeoff Expeditors, and motor out to the lake where besat the bird. They figure out *where* to mount the rockets; but when someone asks "how many are needed to get it to flight speed", no one knew. So, naturally, the team went with the first principle of war: "You are not paid to bring back ammunition" -- or RATO packs, apparently.
With every pack mounted, and the team onboard, they taxied to one end of the lake, firewalled the throttles, and at about halfway lit the fireworks.
*ALL* the fireworks.
I should not have to mention at this point that the Grumman HU-16 has a great many virtues which made it quite effective at its designated role as a SAR unit; saliently *NOT* included among said virtues is "vertical takeoff capability".
Regardless of this unfortunate reality, the Albatross promptly traveled 1,500 feet Due Up, before the boosters cut out. Our Crew, once having changed undergarments, then pootled home.
'pon arrival at base, they were met by the Head Of All Things Involving Repair And Replacement. Said fellow looked at the plane, then shouted to the pilot whilst aiming a finger at the RATO pods, "How many of those did you use?"
Said the pilot, "All of them."
Without a moment's pause, the Repair God replied, "Take 'er to the Boneyard."
"Twould seem that using enough RATO pods to get a HU-16 to Go Vertical has a deleterious effect on the Usable Lifespan of the wing spars....
"The right tool for the right job." [Anon.]
"Any tool can be the Right Tool." [Red Green]