Aerotech fin repair

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Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2009
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Tucson, Az
My aerotech astrobee D has flown at almost every launch for the past few years and is probably the most dependable and consistent flier that i have in my fleet. As a result it has taken a bit of damage to the thin fins over the years. I have always just glued the broken tips back on and she was ready to fly once more. However, on its last fight a 2 inch + chunk of fin broke off and was buried some where in the dirt where it first impacted and it evaded attempts to recover it. I do not want the expense or the dremmel labor of get a whole new fin installed. Any suggestions for appropriate fin repair materials and sources for them?
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Easiest solution is to clip all the fins. I've done that twice to my astrobee d, which really no longer is an astrobee d. But it flies good.

I ended up having to clip mine also, due to a hard landing.
Just traced the needed design on all fins, put belt sander in a vise, and easily cut them to size, by a quick sanding.
Flies great on H-128's H180's H-165's since the fins have been shortened

I have also repaired a warthog using 1.5 oz glass cloth on both sides of the fin to hold the pieces together. It is barely detectable, but requires a lot of fitting and finishing to do so. This is the one[my first rocket since BARdom] I always fly first at every launch I was at for the first 27 times. Finally retired it.

Decided it wasn't worth the effort again. But it's your baby and if you want to go to the trouble it can be done, with lightweight glass cloth and some elbow grease. I went right over the paint with the glass after a good sanding and filled the weave with primer. Then feathered the edges with Bondo spot putty.
For epoxy I did not break out the West but used 15 min. Hobby epoxy thined a bit with denatured alcohol.

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I broke a tip off my Initiator about 15 years ago, and so I took a razor saw and cut them all off even with the end of the tube. Flew just fine that way. Then I gave it an Easter Egg paint job.

It has been retired, since it was my first Aerotech kit,and my first attempt at painting a rocket like this. I just could not bear the thought of destroying it, since it seemed to always find the middle of the asphalt road where we launched, and land in the middle of it.
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When I break more fins I will probably use the method of clipping the fins. What I have done to repair it in the meantime, is to cut a up an old estes plastic fin set which seems to be made of the same plastic and is of the right thickness.