A-6109, NOVEMBER 22, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 472

A-6109: Nov 22, 1924

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ARE ESSENTIALLY ARTICLES OF EQUIPMENT OF THE AIRPLANE. THEIR PURCHASE BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR USE IN THE AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE IS AUTHORIZED. WAS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE BY THE POSTMASTER AT MARION. OF WHAT IS STYLED TWO AVIATORS' SUITS. THE QUERY IS PREMISED UPON THE SUPPOSITION THAT SUCH SUITS COMPRISE PERSONAL APPAREL. IS QUOTED TO THE EFFECT THAT ARTICLES OF PERSONAL EQUIPMENT OR FURNISHINGS FOR THE PROTECTION. IT APPEARS THAT THE SUIT IN QUESTION IS THE SUBJECT OF A PATENT. IN A DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE REPRESENTED AS STATING IN PART THAT. THE CLAIMS AS TO THE INVENTION ARE: 1. IT IS NO MORE SUCH A PERSONAL FURNISHING AS AN EMPLOYEE WOULD ORDINARILY OBTAIN AS NECESSARY FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES THAN IS A LIFE PRESERVER ON A VESSEL.

A-6109, NOVEMBER 22, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 472

PERSONAL FURNISHINGS - AVIATORS' SUITS - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AVIATORS' SUITS, CONSISTING OF PARACHUTES WITH DEVICES FOR ATTACHING TO THE AVIATOR'S PERSON WHEN FLYING AND FOR USE IN EMERGENCIES, ARE ESSENTIALLY ARTICLES OF EQUIPMENT OF THE AIRPLANE, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM PERSONAL EQUIPMENT WHICH AN EMPLOYEE COULD REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO FURNISH IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, AND THEIR PURCHASE BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR USE IN THE AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE IS AUTHORIZED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, NOVEMBER 22, 1924:

THE CHIEF, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT DIVISION, REQUESTED NOVEMBER 4, 1924, INSTRUCTION WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, FISCAL YEAR 1923, ACT OF JUNE 19, 1922, 42 STAT. 657, WAS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE BY THE POSTMASTER AT MARION, ILL., OF WHAT IS STYLED TWO AVIATORS' SUITS, IT APPEARING THAT CREDIT HAS BEEN CLAIMED BY THE POSTMASTER FOR THE AMOUNT PAID FOR SAID SUITS.

THE QUERY IS PREMISED UPON THE SUPPOSITION THAT SUCH SUITS COMPRISE PERSONAL APPAREL, CONCERNING WHICH THE DECISION, 2 COMP. GEN. 258, IS QUOTED TO THE EFFECT THAT ARTICLES OF PERSONAL EQUIPMENT OR FURNISHINGS FOR THE PROTECTION, ETC., OF EMPLOYEES IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES MAY NOT, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY OF LAW THEREFOR BE FURNISHED AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES.

IT APPEARS THAT THE SUIT IN QUESTION IS THE SUBJECT OF A PATENT, NO. 1444699, DATED FEBRUARY 6, 1923, FOR AN AVIATOR'S SUIT, AND IN A DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE REPRESENTED AS STATING IN PART THAT---

THIS INVENTION RELATES TO A MEANS FOR ATTACHING A PARACHUTE TO THE SUIT OF AN AVIATOR, THE GENERAL OBJECT OF THE INVENTION BEING TO PROVIDE MEANS FOR SUPPORTING THE PARACHUTE UPON THE BACK OF THE AVIATOR WITH MEANS FOR QUICKLY AND EASILY RELEASING THE PARACHUTE TO PERMIT IT TO OPEN WHEN THE AVIATOR JUMPS.

THE CLAIMS AS TO THE INVENTION ARE:

1. A SUIT FOR AN AVIATOR COMPRISING A BELT, STRAPS SECURED THERETO AT THEIR LOWER ENDS, HOOKS SECURED TO THE UPPER ENDS OF THE STRAPS, CABLES SECURED TO THE HOOKS AND CONNECTED WITH A PARACHUTE, AND A PARACHUTE CONTROLLING CABLE CONNECTED WITH THE FRONT OF THE SUIT.

2. AN AVIATOR'S SUIT COMPRISING A BELT, CABLES CONNECTED THEREWITH, A PARACHUTE CONNECTED WITH THE CABLES, A COVERING FOLDED ABOUT THE PARACHUTE, A PAIR OF BELTS PASSING AROUND THE BODY OF THE AVIATOR AND THE COVERED PARACHUTE FOR HOLDING THE SAME UPON THE BACK OF THE AVIATOR, SAID STRAPS HOLDING THE COVER ABOUT THE PARACHUTE AND MEANS FOR QUICKLY UNFASTENING THE BELTS AND CAUSING THEM TO RELEASE THE PARACHUTE AND TO PERMIT THE COVER TO DROP THEREFROM.

WHILE THE SPECIFICATIONS DENOMINATE THIS INVENTION AS AN AVIATOR'S SUIT, IT APPEARS FROM THE DESCRIPTION THAT THE CONTRIVANCE REALLY CONSISTS OF A PARACHUTE AND WHAT MAY MORE PROPERLY BE DENOMINATED A HARNESS FOR ATTACHING ALL TO THE AVIATOR'S PERSON. TO A CERTAIN EXTENT SUCH EQUIPMENT DOES COMPRISE A PERSONAL FURNISHING, BUT IT IS NO MORE SUCH A PERSONAL FURNISHING AS AN EMPLOYEE WOULD ORDINARILY OBTAIN AS NECESSARY FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES THAN IS A LIFE PRESERVER ON A VESSEL, WHICH THE INVENTION MORE NEARLY RESEMBLES.

A PARACHUTE ITSELF IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE EXCEPT DURING FLIGHTS, AND IT IS CARRIED AS A LIFE PRESERVER ON AN AIRPLANE FOR USE IN AN EMERGENCY. THE PARACHUTE IS THUS ESSENTIALLY AN ARTICLE OF EQUIPMENT OF THE AIRPLANE, AND A DEVICE IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH PARACHUTE IN AID OF PROMPT AND RELIABLE USE WOULD SEEM TO BE NO LESS AN EQUIPMENT OF THE AIRPLANE BECAUSE IT WAS STRAPPED UPON THE AVIATOR'S PERSON DURING FLIGHT. IT IS SAFE, THEREFORE, TO REGARD THIS ENTIRE DEVICE AS AN EQUIPMENT OF THE AIRPLANE AND NOT SUCH PERSONAL EQUIPMENT, AS CONTEMPLATED IN THE VARIOUS RULINGS OF THIS OFFICE, WHICH AN EMPLOYEE IS EXPECTED TO SUPPLY FOR HIMSELF. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 433; ID. 926.

THE APPROPRIATION CITED, SUPRA, PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED WITH THIS PURCHASE, PROVIDES:

FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF AEROPLANE MAIL SERVICE BETWEEN NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AND SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, VIA CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND OMAHA, NEBRASKA, INCLUDING NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES AND EMPLOYMENT OF NECESSARY PERSONNEL, $1,900,000.

THIS APPROPRIATION IS FOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE AND NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES, AND THE QUESTION IS WHETHER SUCH TERMS MAY BE CONSIDERED TO CONTEMPLATE THE PURCHASE OF WHAT IS NEW AND ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT.

THE ACT OF APRIL 24, 1920, 41 STAT. 579, ESTABLISHING THE AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE PROVIDED FOR THE PURCHASE OF SUCH AIRPLANES AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH, OPERATE, AND MAINTAIN AN AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE, AND "FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF SUCH AEROPLANES, INCLUDING STATIONS, EQUIPMENT, TOOLS, AND MACHINERY, AND OTHER NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES.'

HERE THE TERM "OTHER NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES" IS ASSOCIATED TO EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS, AND IT WOULD APPEAR, THEREFORE, THAT THE SAME TERMS IN THE SUBSEQUENT APPROPRIATIONS MUST CONTEMPLATE ARTICLES OF EQUIPMENT OF THE AIRPLANES AS AN INCIDENTAL EXPENSE NECESSARY TO THE OPERATION OF THE AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PURCHASE OF THE PARACHUTE EQUIPMENT, OR SO CALLED AVIATORS' SUITS, IS AUTHORIZED TO BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT CITED, SUPRA, IF THE TRANSACTION IS OTHERWISE CORRECT.