For a study of the risks related to aeronautics: the files of the Office of Investigations and Analyzes (BEA) from the National Archives

Research questions
By David Berthout

Risk-taking is from the beginning consubstantial with the aerial activities. From late eighteenth-century ballooning to the birth of aviation in the early twentieth century, experimentation and the use of unreliable constant quest for improvement, have made aerial practice dangerous. Throughout the twentieth century and despite efforts to secure equipment, the danger does not disappear. Beyond the risks associated with the practice of a new aerial sport and the use of its equipment, the danger often comes, in large part, from human behavior.To question sporting practices related to risk taking is, according to the fields of social sciences in which one enrolls, to draw from practitioners’ words, fieldwork studies, or to compile and analyze data retrieved directly from source. Among the sources available to researchers, a particular archive fund is essential for the study of the risks related to the aerial activities: the archives of the Office of Investigations and Analyzes for the security Civil Aviation Authority (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile, BEA).


  • archives
  • BEA (Office of Investigations and Analyzes)
  • air sports
  • accidents
  • investigations
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