Frequently Asked Questions
We released our "Little Joe" DVD years ago, and since that time we've noticed that folks have many of the same questions about who we are, what we're doing, and what plans we have for the future.
Who are you? My name is James Duffy, and I am a lifelong aviation enthusiast. I have built model spacecraft and aircraft for literally as long as I can remember. Model rocketry is another lifelong passion of mine, and I have had the privilege to represent the USA at every FAI World Spacemodeling Championships from 2002 through 2018. My preferred modeling subjects are the Little Joe test vehicle and the two-stage Bumper WAC variant of the V-2, which accounts for a few of the offerings you can see here on this site.
I am also an FAA certificated commercial pilot, holding single engine, glider, and instrument ratings, as well as a UAS remote pilot certificate. Additionally, I hold a B.S. in Aviation Science from Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Where do you find the footage that appears in your DVD packages? We source film from a wide range of sources, but most of what you see on each rocket.aero DVD comes from the National Archives, where literally billions of feet of film are preserved. The variety of subjects are staggering, covering practically every US aircraft flown prior to 1980. The challenge is that nearly all of this remakable footage is still on celluloid film, not in an easily accessible digital format. We research the available footage, identify the film elements that we'd like to include on our DVDs, and work with the Archives staff to transfer the footage into a digital format.
When are you going to do a DVD of the (insert name of your favorite aircraft)? We love to hear folks ask this question, as it helps us narrow down our extensive list of potential subjects. There are hundreds of aircraft that we'd like to cover, but three primary criteria come into play when deciding what to produce:
- Can we find enough footage to do a quality DVD?
- Are there enough potential purchasers out there who share our interest in the subject?
- Do I personally like the subject enough to spend hundreds of hours in research and production?
If the answer to these three questions is "yes," there is a good chance that we'll consider releasing a DVD.
What is your next DVD going to cover? Our "V-2 in America" came out in 2010, and it has been a long time since we've produced a DVD set. In spite of the long hiatus, production has commenced on our next project, which will explore the Bell X-1 and variants. We expect to complete and release this project during the summer of 2019. Beyond that, we would very much like to tell the fascinating story of the Navaho cruise missile project.
Did you actually tool up to produce an injection-molded plastic model kit? Yes. Don't tell my wife, m'kay?
Who is "rocket.aero?" And how did they end up with such a screwy name? When the .aero TLD (top level domain) for the aviation industry was first opened up in 2002 we were among the first to snag a name. As an FYI, the correct pronunciation of our name is "rocket dot aero," and we keep it all in lower case to piss off our old English teachers.
Why did you begin producing aviation and space history DVDs? Well, the simple answer is that I am simply goofy for anything that flies, probably much like most of the people visiting this website. There is also a more thorough answer: during a trip to the National Archives facility on Fort Worth to delve into their extensive NASA holdings for any available Little Joe info for a model project, the archivist made an offhand comment concerning the NARA film holdings. A light bulb went off over my head, and I soon found myself sliding down the slipperly slope into the world of archival film. I ended up building a series of spiffy Little Joe models based on the film uncovered during that first search, and have moved on to other subjects since. As a matter of fact, the film unearthed for our "V-2 in America" DVD was used as the basis for a series of Bumper WAC models.