As investigators try to determine if pilot error played a role in Saturday's deadly crash in San Francisco, new federal safety rules for pilots are behind schedule and one congressman said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx needs to move -- and fast.
Rep. Rick Larsen is the top Democrat on the aviation subcommittee. He said the Federal Aviation Administration needs to finalize and implement new rules for commercial pilots.
"There's still some things we can do to make air traffic and air travel safer," Larsen said.
Congress mandated the new rules after the 2009 Colgan air crash in New York. Mistakes by fatigued pilots doomed the plane, killing 50.
Eyewitness News uncovered a first draft of the rules, published by the FAA more than a year ago, requiring more training and certification for airline pilots and first officers.
The idea, FAA officials wrote in the document, is to "ensure that pilots have proper qualification and experience in difficult operational conditions."
"The FAA has been working on this rule, and they're close to getting it done, so it's not going to take much for them to publish this rule," Larsen said.
Larsen sent a letter to Foxx just hours after Foxx was sworn in and four days before Saturday's crash.
"It's hard to say whether these updated rules might have had an impact on training issues that might be issues as part of Asiana 214," Larsen said.
Larsen said Foxx has not yet responded to his letter, but Foxx's staff tells me the process is on track and he looks forward to making the Aug. 1 deadline, about three weeks away.