By Mike Desmond
Congressman Chris Lee says Congress mandated better airline safety and he won't stand by as people behind the scenes try to change that.
"It is this backroom dealing that gives Washington a bad name," Lee told WNED News in response to an advisory panel's recommendations to the FAA which would overturn or ignore airline safety standards established by Congress earlier this year.
The legislation was motivated by the Clarence crash of Flight 3407, a tragedy that revealed glaring safety issues in the regional airline industry.
New legislation mandates tighter rules on pilot rest, monitoring of pay of co-pilots and, 1500 hours of flight time before a co-pilot can be hired for a commercial airline.
"Being an airline pilot is not an entry-level position," said Lee. "Unfortunately, that's what it's been in the past."
Lee was part of a bipartisan effort to pass the safety laws and intends to "follow through and make sure that this is upheld."
The first move will be a call to the FAA's Randy Babbitt "just to ensure that Randy knows that we are not going away. The Families (of Flight 3407) are not going away."