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Q&A: Copter crash memorial, stock market, tallest tree

Ask the Times

Copter crash memorial

I drive the road behind Derby Lane a lot. There's a memorial plaque on the side of the road. What is it for?

On April 25, 2000, a Bayflite rescue helicopter, Bayflite 3, had just dropped off a patient at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg and was returning to its base at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. It was a clear and sunny day, midday, and the pilot was flying at about 500 feet.

Inexplicably, the helicopter flew into a 649-foot radio tower near Weedon Island. Killed were the pilot, Mark Wallace, 39; flight nurse Alicia Betita-Collins, 51; and paramedic Erik Hangartner, 29.

The memorial you see on San Martin Boulevard, on the east side of the road a short distance to the southeast of Derby Lane, is a tribute to them.

After a 15-month investigation the NTSB ruled the accident was caused by pilot error. Wallace was an experienced pilot, widely regarded as precise and safety-conscious.

"It's very frustrating. A very well-trained individual made some sort of mistake, and we don't know why," Karl Poulsen, director of operations for Rocky Mountain Helicopters, which leases the copters used by Bayflite, told the Times.

Dow Jones, by president

How much has the stock market gained or lost during various presidents' terms?

Using the Dow Jones industrial average as the barometer, we checked its close on the first and last days in office of every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, and calculated the percentage gained or lost (plus party affiliation).

• Eisenhower (R), plus 120.3 percent.

• John F. Kennedy (D), plus 12.2 percent.

• Lyndon B. Johnson (D), plus 30.9 percent.

• Richard M. Nixon (R), minus 16.5 percent.

• Gerald R. Ford (R), plus 23.4 percent.

• Jimmy Carter (D), minus 0.9 percent.

• Ronald Reagan (R), plus 135.1 percent.

• George H.W. Bush (R), plus 45 percent.

• Bill Clinton (D), plus 226.6 percent.

• George W. Bush (R), minus 24.9 percent.

• Barack Obama's term ends Jan. 20, 2017. As of June 6, the Dow is up 112.9 percent during the Democrat's term.

The world's tallest tree

What's the tallest tree in the world?

The current champion is a coach redwood in the Redwood National Park, which is near Crescent City, Calif., about 20 miles south of that state's border with Oregon. It's 379 feet, 4 inches tall, and it was discovered in 2006 by two naturalists, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. It even has a nickname: Hyperion, which is Greek for "the high one." It's estimated to be 700 to 800 years old. Before Hyperion was found, a tree in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, about 80 miles south of Redwood National Park, was the tallest known at about 369 feet. It's called Stratosphere Giant.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email

Q&A: Copter crash memorial, stock market, tallest tree 06/19/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 20, 2014 2:07pm]
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