More than 1,200 bird strikes in Ariz. since 2000

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Plane bird strikes are on the rise

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In six cases, aircraft flying out of Tucson or Phoenix had what the FAA classified as "substantial" damage after hitting birds, and others had lesser damage. At least six commercial jetliners had engines with damaged fan blades needing replacing or repair. In one 2002 case, a propeller-driven commuter plane had to return to Phoenix after a bird struck its wing and punched a hole in a fuel tank.

Passengers evacuated the plane safely as fuel poured onto the runway. Firefighters covered it in foam and plugged the leak.

In all, 1,259 bird strikes or animal collisions were reported from 2000 through 2008. No fatalities were reported.

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