My congressman’s Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013 passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this morning. H.R. 1848 directs the FAA to implement the FAA’s Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommendations by December 31, 2015. That would be about two years if Congress gets it to the President and he signs it by year’s end. And all of general aviation’s woes would lessen, airplanes will be built and sold at lower prices, thousands will flock to flight schools because learning to fly will be cheaper and easier…that’s the pitch, at least.

How I wish this legislatively mandated regulating excited me more than it gives me pause. Congress’ track record at regulating through legislative fiat suffers from the realities of its spotty record of helping — and documented record for hurting.

No question, general aviation needs the relief and progress possible through implementation of many of the ARC’s 150 recommendations. It took the FAA longer than two years to draft, publish, review comments and fix the regulatory proposals made to implement what we today call the Light Sport Aircraft and its Sport Pilot licensing. Following the Administrative Procedures Act required patience — but gave us input. Neither patience nor influence are ever in massive supply where business opportunities are concerned.

Consider the airline industry and the safety help Congress gave it by forcing the FAA to up the bar to 1,500 hours for flying right seat in most commercial service. The community didn’t need the change from 250 hours and actively resisted, But Congress knew better, so the airlines continue to deal with a congressional mandate that shrank the pilot pool and uprooted the career plans of thousands. Did Congress hear the airlines and schools and students and pilots who thought they were about to qualify for the show? Eh…they’re only involved people — what could they know that Congress doesn’t know better?

Then there’s the congressman who introduced legislation he imagines will better save airliners from terrorist threats and deranged celebrities: a SECOND, armored, cockpit door. Costs and weight be damned, someone conceived the idea and the FAA just must act on that idea — because.

Now don’t take this as a love song for the FAA. The agency seems deaf to many general aviation issues and across the board sluggish in many areas it could easily move on quickly.

If Congress truly wants to wade further in the philosophy of legislate the regulations you want, how about whipping up a small bill to force the FAA to act respond to petitions to eliminate the Third Class Medical for a narrow range of personal flying?

OR, at least, force an FAA response…if they think they can.

Even if H.R. 1848 passes — and it has wide support so far — and the FAA becomes subject to yet another bit of regulating through legislating, the simple legal and structural logistics of implementing the ARC’s recommendations leave many, me included, doubtful that the job can be done as it should by 2017.

And before someone suggests that 2015 is viable if Congress merely waive all the checks and balances of the Administrative Procedures Act: Be careful what you wish for. We recently signed on to allowing AIP money be used for operations — and we’ve yet to see how this precedent-setting break from long-fought-for funding philosophy takes its next beating. Rest assured — it shall, the very next time needed spending faces off against someone’s desire for another tax cut.

So let’s be careful what we wish for; the potential for Congress to mandate something screwy is never off the table.