RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- RDU responded Wednesday after a coyote ran onto the runway and was hit by a Southwest plane as it was taking off Tuesday night.
The airport said there is a plan in place to ensure wildlife doesn't come onto the property and interfere with flights.
RDU staff goes out to inspect the fence around the airfield three times a day and they said they constantly "monitor airfield operations for wildlife."
In the last 20 years, there have been eight coyote strikes at RDU if you count Tuesday.
There are far more bird strikes though when you look at the wildlife database from the Federal Aviation Administration.
This is also a prime time of year for coyote sightings, according to Dr. Roland Kays, associate professor and director at the Biodiversity and Earth Observation Lab at NC State's College of Natural Resources.
"Coyotes are much more likely to be out at night," Dr. Kays said. "They can be out at any time of day but they're more nocturnal especially when they know people are not out and about."
Aviation experts say these kinds of strikes are an unfortunate reality.
"Airports by design have a lot of open space for the safe operations of aircraft and unfortunately that same open space is very attractive to wildlife such as deer, coyote and birds," said Philip Lanier, airport director at Johnston County Regional.
Lanier drew back to memories from the Miracle on the Hudson, when a plane ingested a flock of birds and it took a heroic pilot to bring the plane to safety.
A commercial airline pilot told Eyewitness News Wednesday that they receive training to deal with all kinds of situations including emergencies in takeoffs.