CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 952768 JAS

Ms. Stephanie Moody
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
P.O. 2206, M/S E-01
Savannah, GA 31402-2206

RE: Flight Data Acquisition Unit; NY 860247 Revoked

Dear Ms. Moody:

Your ruling request of February 1, 1991, to the District Director of Customs, Savannah, concerned the tariff status of a flight data acquisition unit from Great Britain.

The Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, replied to this request and held that the merchandise was classifiable in subheading 8543.80.40, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as electrical machines and apparatus not specified or included elsewhere in chapter 85. The rate of duty under this provision is 3.9 percent ad valorem. NY 860247, dated February 27, 1991. For the reasons which follow, we believe this ruling is incorrect.


The flight data acquisition unit is a device which accepts data in various forms and outputs it in a specific repetitive manner into a data format that the flight data recorder requires to make a history of what happened during a particular flight.


Whether a flight data acquisition unit is a measuring instrument, appliance or machine.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined - 2 -

according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The paramount rule of tariff classification is GRI 1. Therefore, the terms of the headings plus all applicable legal notes must be considered. Section XVI, note 1(m), HTSUS, states that articles of chapter 90 are not covered in section XVI. Heading 8543 is in section XVI. Therefore, the flight data acquisition unit cannot be classified in heading 8543 if it is provided for in any heading of chapter 90. Also, heading 8543 covers all electrical apparatus not falling in any other heading of chapter 85 or not covered more specifically by a heading of any other chapter in the HTSUS.

HQ 089391, dated February 6, 1992, held that data recorders used as components in measuring systems that include sensors and display devices were measuring instruments of heading 9031 even though they did not perform any actual measuring function themselves. The data recorder in HQ 089391 did not perform any measuring function but was connected to a computer or oscilloscope that interpreted the recorded data. The device was used to record electronic signals in a process of measuring. HQ 089391 confirmed the common meaning of the term "measure" as "to ascertain the quantity, mass, extent, or degree of [something] in terms of a standard unit or fixed amount" and concluded that measuring instruments, appliances or machines encompass devices that carry out steps in a process of measuring. (Emphasis added). Flight data acquisition units are used with flight data recorders and other components to enable ground personnel to measure the acquired data and, thus, to evaluate the plane's flight performance. HOLDING:

Under the authority of GRI 1, flight data acquisition units, the subject of your February 1, 1991, ruling request, are provided for in heading 9031. They are classifiable in subheading 9031.80.00, HTSUS, as other measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines. The rate of duty on products of the UK is 4.9 percent ad valorem.

Pursuant to section 177.9(d)(1), Customs Regulations, NY 860247 is revoked. Under section 177.9(d)(2) this revocation will not be applied retroactively to NY 860247 and will not, therefore, affect past transactions under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NY 860247 will not be valid precedent.

Goods classifiable in subheading 9031.80.00 may be eligible for entry free of duty under the Civil Aircraft Agreement, upon - 3 -

compliance with applicable law and Customs Regulations. In the event the flight data acquisition unit does not qualify for free entry, pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation, in that current contracts for goods imported after the date of this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, you may apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division