On April 17, 2005, about 1600 mountain daylight time, a Hughes 269A, N7054C, registered to and flown by the pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with the terrain following a loss of control while hovering over a field near Whitefish, Montana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter was substantially damaged and the student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated from an off airport location near the pilot's residence.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that he just purchased this helicopter and had accumulated a total flight time of four hours in this make and model. Total flight time in all aircraft was reported as 41 hours.

The pilot stated that he was practicing hovering and hovering turns into a "sporadic" north wind. The pilot reported that he made a turn to the south, and "while doing so a gust of wind spun me to the east (loss of tail rotor effectiveness)." The right skid contacted the surface and the helicopter tipped to the right side.

The pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter at the time of the accident.

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