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Turkeys thrown from plane during Arkansas festival prompt FAA probe

In 2015, the 70th year of the Turkey Trot in Yellville, Ark., turkeys were thrown from a plane. The tradition returned in 2017.
In 2015, the 70th year of the Turkey Trot in Yellville, Ark., turkeys were thrown from a plane. The tradition returned in 2017. kschwers@kcstar.com

The annual turkey drop in which a turkey is flung from a low-flying plane at an Arkansas festival has prompted a federal investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced it is looking into whether the activity complied with regulations. The annual Yellville Turkey Trot has included the bird drop for about 50 years, according to the Southwest Times Record in Arkansas.

In the past, the FAA has said it has not intervened because the turkeys were not considered projectiles.

TSA officials demonstrate what parts of Thanksgiving dinner can fly and how you should package them.

But Rose Hilliard, a local animal rights activist, claims in a formal complaint with local law enforcement that the birds were “terrorized” by the pilot and that state animal cruelty laws had been violated.

Marion County Sheriff Clinton Evans did not immediately return a request for comment.

The event calls to mind a spot on the ‘80s sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati,” in which a turkey drop leads reporter Les Nessman to deliver a breathless firsthand account.

“The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement,” Nessman says.

Radio station manager Arthur Carlson says at the end of the spot: “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Max Londberg: 816-234-4378, @MaxLondberg

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