Surely that wasn’t our plane that crashed

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Earlier this week, we wrote about China Airlines’ delusional decision to cover up its logo on the charred fuselage of Flight 120. A few commenters mentioned that this is a longstanding practice among airlines hoping to protect their brand. Sure enough, they’re right. There’s a discussion thread about it over on Snopes, where I found a few good examples, like Air Florida Flight 90. That’s the 737 that hit downtown Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Bridge and plunged into the Potomac River. The iconic tail wreckage, shown here from AirDisaster.com, was later covered with a paint job that looks strangely like a black heart. There’s also the “tarp approach,” which was used to cover the Eastern Air Lines logo (here’s before, here’s after) on a plane that broke in half during a hard landing in Florida. Even a lesser transgression like a TNT Airways skid-stop landing with no injuries is grounds for a quick whitewash. So we’ve confirmed this is an old-school practice to save face. But in the new all-access information society, does it do more harm than good?

—Posted by David Griner