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Arkansas Pilot May Be In Hot Water Over Turkey Drop

Birds Dropped From An Airplane At Annual Yellville Turkey Trot

We're not sure this is life imitating "art" ... or "art" imitating life, but this will strike a chord with anyone who watched the 1978 Thanksgiving episode of "WKRP in Cincinatti".

At the annual Yellville Turkey Trot held in northern Arkansas over the weekend, a low-flying plane dropped four turkeys over the festival-goers, who chased down the birds. Their ultimate fate was not reported in the story from the Associated Press.

But nearly everybody seems to know that there is something inherently wrong with the practice, which has reportedly been going on for five decades. While the identity of the pilot has generally been kept secret, a photo of the aircraft published on the website The Drive clearly shows the 'N' number of the plane ... 8463R ... which FAA records indicated is a Piper PA-28-140 registered to Aldino Raimondi of Yellville, AR.

The FAA is looking into whether any laws were broken by the pilot, according to television stations KHBS/KHOG and other media sources. The report said that the FAA has not intervened in the past because the birds are not considered "projectiles."

One of television's most quoted lines came from the fictional WKRP station manager Arthur Carlson, who said at the end of the episode in which turkeys were dropped from a helicopter: "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." And they can, to some extent ... at least well enough to get from tree to tree ... or to somewhat slow their fall to the ground.

A local animal rights activist has filed a complaint with the Sheriff saying the criminal charges should be filed against the pilot for animal cruelty and animal abandonment.

Organizers of the festival did not respond to a request for comment.

(Image from YouTube video posted by user Pilex)

FMI: Original Report, WKRP Episode clip

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