CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 952778 JAS

Ms. Stephanie Moody
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
P.O. Box 2206
Savannah, GA 31402-2206

RE: Flight Data Entry Panel; Apparatus for Inserting Data into Flight Data Acquisition and Recorder Units; Panel for Electric Control; Heading 8537; Electrical Machines and Apparatus; Heading 8543; Measuring Instruments and Apparatus; Parts and Accessories; Heading 9031

Dear Ms. Moody:

Your letters of March 29, 1991, and September 2, 1992, to the district director of Customs at Savannah, concerning the tariff status of flight data entry panels from the U.K., have been referred to our office for reply. Our decision follows.


The flight data entry panel (FDEP), model PV 1591, is a remote unit located in the cockpit of an aircraft that allows a flight crew to turn the flight data acquisition unit (FDAU) on and off, to input flight number and date into that unit, and to display operating status. Although you refer to this unit as a control panel, it does not control the operation of the FDAU, nor does it perform measurements. The FDAU receives information in the form of analog and digital signals from sensors on a plane's control surfaces, engines, landing gear, navigational equipment, etc. It converts these signals into another digital format and transmits the information to a flight data recorder (FDR) or "black box."

You state that Customs officers in Savannah have tentatively advised you that the FDEP is provided for in heading 8543, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as electrical machines and apparatus not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 85]. - 2 -


Whether the FDEP is a measuring instrument, appliance or machine of chapter 90, HTSUS. LAW AND ANALYSIS:

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 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.

Articles classified in chapter 90 are precluded from classification in heading 8543, assuming that provision even applies, as well as from other provisions in section XVI. Section XVI, Note 1(m), HTSUS.

As a preliminary issue, the flight data entry panel is not a control panel for tariff purposes. Heading 8537, HTSUS, provides for boards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases for electric control or the distribution of electricity. Both programmed and programmable controllers are included within heading 8537. The ultimate purpose of a [control] panel or other controller is to control output devices. Basically, these devices convert input signals into output signals, based on the user's program logic, and sends them to output devices such as solenoids, valves, etc. The flight data entry panel does not function in this manner.

In a letter, dated November 4, 1992 (952768), we informed you that Gulfstream's flight data acquisition unit was classifiable in heading 9031, a provision for other measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines. We cited to a previous ruling, HQ 089391, dated February 6, 1992, which 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." HQ 089391 concluded that measuring instruments, appliances or machines encompass devices that carry out steps in a process of measuring. (Emphasis added).

Flight data acquisition units receive signals from sensors located at points on a plane's control surfaces. These sensors measure or analyze the phenomena being sensed, then send the measured data to the data acquisition unit. The measured data is then stored in flight data recorders. Computers or other on- ground apparatus enable ground personnel to interpret the acquired data and, thus, to evaluate the plane's flight performance. - 3 -

The only function of the flight data entry panel is for use with the flight data acquisition unit and the flight data recorder. It therefore qualifies as parts and accessories of measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines.

Because heading 9031 encompasses the FDEP, headings 8537 and 8543 are not applicable.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the flight data entry panel, model PV 1591, is provided for in heading 9031. It is classifiable in subheading 9031.90.60, HTSUS, as other parts and accessories of measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines. The rate of duty on products of the U.K. is 4.9 percent ad valorem.

Goods classifiable in subheading 9031.90.60, HTSUS, may be eligible for free entry under the Civil Aircraft Agreement, upon compliance with applicable law and Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director