I am setting up a lab this summer for some student research that will be similar in most ways to this one at MIT: http://vertol.mit.edu/
I would like to buy 6-8 commercially available trirotor or quadrotor helicopters in the $1000 - $1500 price range that would be similar in capabilities to the old Draganflyer V Ti. I've looked around and I would be very happy using Parrot AR Drones, but they have not set a date for releasing them or published a price. Likewise, Draganfly's web site says they will release their E4 in 2010, but no price or date of availability either. I could swear their web site used to say the E4 was coming in 2009.
I will only have the students for 10 weeks, so I would rather have them doing higher-level research using copters that work out-of-the-box and have available spare parts than have them spend a big part of their summer testing and debugging copters that they have built from scratch. Any suggestions?