ARLINGTON (CBDFW.COM) – They cut through the sky effortlessly but pilots at a North Texas airport said wildlife on the ground is now a concern.
Crews at the Arlington Municipal Airport are dealing with a coyote problem. The animals are coming from a wooded-area that borders one side of the airport.
“Seeing these little eyes shine at me when I’m getting ready to lift off… it actually is a big deal,” said Ken Korenek, a pilot at the airport.
Korenek said he is seeing more and more coyotes running onto the airfield, sometimes in large packs.
“If you run into one of those on take-off or landing roll it could be catastrophic, it could be fatal,” said Korenek.
While his plane can slice through some of the thickest clouds, it is not built for a run-in with a large animal.
Pilots said their focus needs to be on having a safe take-off and landing, not on an animal.
“If a guy flinches and makes a jerk, you could have a really bad situation even if you don’t hit the coyote,” said Randy Sullivan, a pilot at the airport.
Airport manager Karen VanWinkle said they want to build a fence and are seeking $1.2 million from the FAA to help.
“It’s a good compromise with our four-legged friends,” said VanWinkle. “We’ll miss seeing them but we won’t miss the potential hazard they create.”
Pilots like Korenek said he feels fortunate a major run-in has not happened, he feels the potential is real.
“Just because you haven’t had one yet, doesn’t mean you’re not going to,” said Korenek.
If the funding is approved, the airport expects the fence to go up in two years.
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