I think I may have found the RC heli with the best awesome:price ratio currently on the market:
The Nine Eagles Solo Pro 260a
Maneuverable, agile, tough, responsive, moddable. All this for around AU$80 delivered, or AU$50 for a BNF version.
I think this would have to be the perfect heli for someone moving up from coaxial three and four channel helis. It will hover hands free once trimmed, has high and low gain modes, and is tough enough that you’re not too scared to push your limits for fear of major repairs.
Considering how light yet responsive it is, it is very tough. If you’re not an experienced pilot, you’ll probably crash a lot (like me). A few spares that are worth stocking are:
- flybars. They bend and break near the pivot.
- tail boom assembly. The shaft splits near the attachment point, which introduces flex and means the tail rotor can’t keep up. Damaged ones can be repaired with CA glue. Motors may also burn out. I believe it is the same as an S107 main motor. Motor may also slip and spin in holder, which can damage leads. A drop of CA glue will hold it in place if loose.
- main shaft. The pins which hold the blades shear off very easily. Can be repaired by drilling out and inserting improvised shaft (metal pin, bamboo skewer etc)
The blades are surprisingly tough – I haven’t broken any yet. Spare skids are worth considering, although they can take a lot more abuse than some people think.
As far as upgrades go, consider getting the upgrade metal swashplate/rotor head found on ebay. Just use the swash plate and blade holder, since metal adds a lot of weight and the other bits don’t really give you any advantage. There is a carbon fibre flybar available which is also worthwhile. Stops the stock flybar from hitting the canopy/tail boom, and also allows for weight adjustment. Consider getting spare 150mAh batteries (as opposed to the stock 120mAh ones) and some sort of external charger.
A lot of other info is available in this rcgroups.com FAQ thread.