Investigation Policy

Classification criteria for investigations led by the BEA

Category 1 investigation

Investigation requiring several areas of organisational and/or systemic analysis and which leads to the writing of a report using the full structure proposed by ICAO Annex 13. Category 1 investigations generally give rise to safety recommendations. The accidents that systematically give rise to a category 1 investigation are those involving an aircraft operated under an air operator’s certificate with a maximum certified take-off weight of more than:

  • 5.7 t for an aeroplane, or
  • 3.18 t for a helicopter,

during which:

  • at least one person onboard is fatally injured, or
  • an emergency evacuation is required and the aircraft is destroyed, or
  • the aircraft is reported missing.

Category 2 investigation

This category is for investigations where the areas of in-depth examination and analysis are limited, giving rise to a “simplified report”: the structure of these reports may differ from the template provided in ICAO Annex 13 in order to adapt to the circumstances of the occurrence and the priorities of the investigation. These investigations apply for all types of operations. They primarily aim to provide operational feedback, but can also lead to the issuing of safety recommendations.

Category 3 investigation

“Desktop” Investigation. During these investigations, information is mainly obtained through statements from the parties directly involved. This information is not generally validated by the BEA, and there is no development of an analysis, conclusions or lessons. With this investigation category, the BEA wants above all, to ensure that personal experience is shared throughout the community in question. This investigation category is generally reserved for light aircraft and types of occurrences which do not lead to serious bodily injury, based on past experience.
 



Classification criteria for investigations opened by a foreign body and notified to the BEA

For several years now, the BEA has adapted the allocation of its resources to foreign investigations based on the stakes associated with the reason for the proposed accredited representation. The classification criteria for foreign investigations for which the BEA appoints an accredited representative (ACCREP) are described below.

The participation of the ACCREP is:

  • active for category 1 ACCREP cases (major event);
  • active depending on the needs of the foreign authority for category 2 ACCREP cases;
  • on standby, pending a request from the foreign authority for category 3 ACCREP cases: this category mainly includes events that occurred to aircraft of French design, for which no safety issues directly related to design characteristics have been identified at first sight.

Category 1 accredited representations

These concern accidents or incidents to aeroplanes with a maximum take-off weight of more than 5.7 t where:

  • at least one person on board is fatally injured (excluding injuries from natural causes), or
  • an emergency evacuation is carried out and the aircraft is destroyed, or the aircraft is reported missing,

Or accidents and incidents to helicopters of more than 3.18 t where:

  • at least one person on board is fatally injured (excluding injuries from natural causes), or
  • an emergency evacuation is carried out and the aircraft is destroyed, or the aircraft is reported missing.

Category 3 accredited representations

These concern accidents and incidents to aeroplanes of less than 2.25 t:

  • where the BEA, in theory, does not provide any added value during the investigation,
  • without a clear link with the reason for accreditation,
  • where there is no specific request from the authority in charge,
  • which would be the subject of BEA Category 3 investigations, Or accidents and incidents to aeroplanes of more than 2.25 t:
  • where the BEA, in theory, does not provide any added value during the investigation,
  • without a clear link with the reason for accreditation,
  • where, in theory, there are no benefits or stakes for the advisor and/or the BEA,
  • which would not give rise to the opening of a BEA investigation in France,
  • where there is no specific request from the authority in charge,
  • where there is no justified request from the advisor, Or accidents and incidents to helicopters:
  • without victim,
  • where there is no specific request from the authority in charge,
  • without a clear link with the reason for accreditation,
  • where there is no justified request from the advisor, Or accidents and incidents involving aircraft equipped with engines of French design or manufacture:
  • if no component manufactured by the French manufacturer contributed to the occurrence,
  • without a clear link with the reason for accreditation,
  • where there is no justified request from the advisor.

Category 2 accredited representations

concern aircraft accidents and incidents that do not meet the criteria of category 1 and 3 ACCREP