>That's a good point. Maybe there was a need for
holding the legs in (however brief). Something to do
with the center of gravity after launch.<
I've suggested this before a couple of times. Pulling the legs in towards the body while airborne, even briefly, would allow for more control on rolling maneuvers. And if lift and thrust were selected as enhancements for close-quarters combat (I call it the "cock-fighting" model--CFCF?), improvements in maneuverability would be highly selective. Pulling the legs in towards the body would also serve to protect the legs during those skirmishes.