On September 27, 2000, about 1710 mountain daylight time (MDT), a Hughes 269B, N9503F, sustained substantial damage following a loss of control while hovering at Laurel Municipal Airport, Laurel, Montana. The helicopter is owned and operated by Northern Skies Aviation of Laurel, Montana, and was being operated as a solo instructional flight under the provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 91. The student pilot, the sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated from Laurel, about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

The pilot submitted a written statement to the NTSB dated October 6, and reported that while practicing takeoffs and landings, he inadvertently applied excessive collective input during the second takeoff, and the helicopter climbed to approximately 12 feet above ground level (AGL). He wrote, in part: "This action caused a decay in rotor RPM and I felt a loss of tail rotor effectiveness, followed by a yaw to the right. I tried several different control inputs, but nothing seemed to help me gain control." The helicopter continued to spin as it ascended to approximately 50 feet AGL. After 2-3, 360-degree revolutions, the helicopter entered an uncontrolled descent and collided with the ground. The helicopter came to rest on its left side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail boom, fuselage and main rotor assembly.

At the time of the accident, the student pilot had accumulated 12 hours of dual instruction in the accident helicopter. The accident flight was the student pilot's first solo flight.

No mechanical difficulties or failures were reported.

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