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snopes
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Comment: My branding professor told me that one of the first things an
airline does after the a plane crash is send a crew to paint over the
logo. It makes sense to me, but I have had a hard time convincing others.

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Penny
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True. I've seen many photos of the aftermath of air crashes where the logo on the tail has been painted over. Air Florida Flight 90 is the first to spring to mind; I'll see if I can find the photo online somewhere.
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Don Enrico
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It doesn't make sense to me:
  • The name of the airline will be all over the news anyway, as in "Chaos Carrier flight 0518 crashed today at...". Painting over the logo won't change anything.
  • Airline personnel arriving at the crash site together with emergency forces, not to help the passengers, but to paint over the logo, would make a bad impression in the news and might even be attacked by survivers and/or charged with hindering the rescue operations.
  • Painting over the logo after the rescue operations (and after the news cameras are gone) wouldn't make much sense - it would change the image only for the people passing the crash site later, but wouldn't change the public image.

In short: I doubt it, and I never heard about it either.

Don "paintjob" Enrico

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My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

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Penny
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Here's the one I was thinking of - Air Florida Flight 90.

The tail being pulled from the river:
http://www.airdisaster.com/photos/af90/photo.shtml

The tail after being "de-identified":
http://www.airdisaster.com/photos/af90/2.shtml

In the book "Air Disaster, Volume 2" by Macarthur Job (page 91), the second photo has this caption:

quote:
Laid out on the hangar floor, the recovered wreckage of the 737 tells its own tragic story. Black paint hurriedly applied to the fin belatedly attempts to conceal the identity of the airline. This post-accident, marketing-driven practice is not without good reason. The Washington accident was estimated to have cost Air Florida around 100,000 reservations. (with acknowledgement to Hank Morgan and Discover magazine).
ETA: Two more examples; unfortunately I only have these photos in hard-copy.

1) Aloha Airlines flight 243 - suffered an explosive decompression and made an emergency landing at Maui airport (Hawaii, USA). The airline logo on the fin was painted over before the aircraft had even been towed from the runway.

2) Air Canada C-FTLU - destroyed by an inflight fire, landed in Cincinnati, USA. The logo on the tail was painted over after the fire was extinguished but before the aircraft was dragged clear of the runway.

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Troberg
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quote:
Airline personnel arriving at the crash site together with emergency forces, not to help the passengers, but to paint over the logo, would make a bad impression in the news and might even be attacked by survivers and/or charged with hindering the rescue operations.
That part of the events is usually over long before someone has time to get there with a bucket of paint.

My main reason for partial doubt is that I doubt they would be allowed to do this before the crash investigation is done. Paint may hide microscopic cracks. Tiny scratches in the surface radiating from a single point may be the result of an explosion, and the scratches will help pointing out exactly where the explosion occured. Traces of fire may be destroyed.

I'm not surprised that they hide the logo, but I doubt they'll be able to do it immediately. There is no way they'll be able to do it before the investigation team are done with that part and give their blessing. The last thing the investigators want is someone from the airline mucking about with potential evidence. Also, I think that less permanent methods of hiding it may be preferable, such as draping it with some canvas or something like that.

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/Troberg

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abbubmah
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It may be done to allay fears of passengers, so they don't see their chosen airline's planes' burnt-out carcasses on the airfield.

But first thing at a crash site? Nah.

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Andrew of Ware, England
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In the famous (infamous?) accident of the crashed Pan Am aeroplane at Lockerbie in Scotland the photograph of the cockpit with the Pan Am logo became the iconic image of the crash. I doubt if British air crash investigators would have allowed Pan Am to paint over the logo - besides everyone knew the name of the company of the crashed 'plane long before they would have a chance to paint over the logo.

(That crash was caused by a terrorist bomb and I think security procedures at Frankfurt Airport were to blame. I do not think Pan Am was blamed for the crash.)

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Troberg
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Besides, if they are going to give the plane a new paintjob, why not paint the logo of a competing airline (apart from armies of lawyers and stuff)...

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/Troberg

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Psihala
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quote:
The name of the airline will be all over the news anyway, as in "Chaos Carrier flight 0518 crashed today at...". Painting over the logo won't change anything.
Maybe, but they'll try anyway.

Call it morbid fascination, but I frequent the 'Accidents' section of Airliners.net on a regular basis. There are examples there of accidents that happen in the industry that may or may not be mentioned in the news. Some of these are the airline equivallent of a fender-bender, yet may result in an airline writing off the plane(s) involved.

One example is this Air Algerie 737, which suffered a gear collapse and skidded off the runway at Seville, Spain on March 18, 2006. The photo was taken on March 19, and shows the logo still visible. By March 26, the title markings had been painted out. In this case, the likely reason was that the plane had been 'written off' as being not economically repairable, the plane was turned over to the under-writers, and all corporate markings were removed.

quote:
It may be done to allay fears of passengers, so they don't see their chosen airline's planes' burnt-out carcasses on the airfield.

But first thing at a crash site? Nah.

I agree, and Penny gave some good examples.

Sometimes, though, it seems even the folks that submit photos to the Airliners.net accident section don't always get their stories straight. On September 14, 1999, a Britannia Airways 757 crash-landed at Costa Brava, Spain in a thunderstorm. One photographer submitted a sequence of photographs showing the plane being dismantled and on a photo dated September 21, a caption reads, "Few hours after the crash, the airline name/logo, registration was hastly overpainted to avoid identification."

Not quite. According to this picture, dated September 16, two days after the accident, the markings appear to still be intact even if the plane isn't.

The airlines are extremely image concious, though. In an Air and Space Magazine I have at home there is an article about Pinal Airpark in Arizona. For those who may not be aware, Pinal Airpark (Marana) is one of a number of airline storage and disposal facilities located in the southwestern United States - an aircraft boneyard. Its one of the places the airlines send surplus aircraft that are either being retired, placed up for sale, or stored when there are downturns in business. Early in the article, the author mentions that airlines that had aircraft stored at Marana didn't want to be mentioned by name in the article, and didn't want their logos visible in photographs over concerns of the impression it might leave. However, a search of 'Pinal Airpark' on Airliners.net currently lists 608 photos, hidden in plain sight for anyone with internet access who bothers to look for them.

~Psihala
(*No pictures! I always look like a wreck...)

ETA: And I write like a wreck, too. Had to do some fixin'.

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skeptic
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One place that aircraft logos are painted over is when they are placed in those long-term desert facilities until they are required again. The airline doesn't want to be seen going out of business by having many of its planes parked in the sun. (The planes may have been old, and replaced with newer versions)

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Homer
 


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I just finished a safety for managers course for my company. During this course we had a several hours long section on dealing with the media, following an accident in which we were or were not directly involved.

One point that they stressed over and over again, was to never grant interviews where company logos could be seen. No logos on desks, uniforms, background etc. The reasoning given is that the logo is intended to help people remember your company. So, it is generally something iconic which will stick in a viewer's mind (if marketing did their job).

In a disaster/accident, the logo could do the same. Just hearing that Chaos Carrier had an accident might not trigger a memory next time you buy tickets. But if you see the logo and associate it with death and destruction, you're going to avoid buying tickets from that logo.

Don't know how accurate this all is, but it makes sense to me.

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