Picked up my Picco Z helicopter today from Target for only $29.99. Its really fun to fly and works pretty well. Actually its an Air Hogs Havoc Heli. And the original helicopter is called Picoo Z by Silverlit. Many names out there, but these are both from the same manufacturer.
It takes some getting used to but after a few or 20 crashes you get the hang of it. The best part is its so light it will almost never break froma crash. I think over time if you crash it enough the body parts might twist a bit and give you a different flight feel, but I think its manageable.
As for the technology behind it: I think the coolest thing aside from its miniature size is the main rotor design. The blades are made of Polypropelene which means they are light, durable and flexible. There is a main rotor/propeller that provides lift and another smaller propeller above it to provide stability. these props are tied together using connecting rods. So the top prop is basically a gyro. it has small metal weights on its tips. That means that when it starts to spin from a flat ground level, it acts as a gyroscope and resists tilting motion. As the heli tilts forward. the gryo remains level for a second and tugs the main blades. It tilts the blade to create more lift in the front bringing the heli back to level.
This guy R0XoRiZoR does a good job explaining how this works. And he has pictures. (scroll down to his post from July 2004.)
and this guy watersharer
I posted a video to show the gyro in action.
I am not ready to take mine apart yet but here is a site with some pics of a bearing/CF shaft mod and custom frame by azimov.
And by the way if you are looking for replacement motors you might try these guys at Robot Store HK I do not know if they are the same size as the rotor motor or tail motor, but they look pretty close.
I tried going on the manufacture’s site TECO but I cant seem to find any product info or specs.
Anyway Robot Store HK seems to be a really good resource for hobby robot parts.