A M-Squared solidifies its position in the ultralight industry, the company rounds out its line of models with a pair of single-seaters to complement two 2-seaters already completed.
Welcome to fresh Mississippi Breeses.
M-Squared was born of a collaboration of 17-year Quicksilver veteran Paul Mather, and South Mississippi Light Aircraft (SMLA) owner Ronnie Smith. Mather started and solely owns M-Squared, but the two men have established a complementary working relationship.
Ronnie Smith and his wife built their SMLA operation into a regional powerhouse, selling Quicksilvers and other models through a chain of subdealers. Smith also established the southern enterprise as one of the few official American Rotax sales and service outlets and is also a supplier of many ultralight accessory items.
Mather conceived how Smith’s presence in the business might be combined with his own depth of experience and M-Squared rose as powerfully as the early 80-hp Rotax 912-equipped aircraft he debuted in the spring of 1997.
Paul’s work at Quicksilver ran a gamut of duties but his specialty – if I can call it such – was touring the U.S. and visiting Quicksilver’s legion of dealers. It is a highly effective sales technique that works well but is not one many companies can afford.
Indeed, this extensive touring (Paul was gone six out of each eight weeks) gave him a special insight and personal knowledge of many retail ultralight organizations. He’s been able to tap that database of information to help launch M-Squared.
Immediate Seating for One
As readers of mine probably know, I love single-seaters. Two-seaters are great and I’m pleased we have them. Those who have FAA certificates can expose their friends to ultralight flight in their N-numbered machines, and schools can train students in ultralight 2-seat trainers.
However, for my personal enjoyment of light flight, going solo has always remained the best for me… and for many others. (Contrary to many “sources,” Ultralight Flying! surveys consistently show that around 40% of all ultralight sales are single-place machines.)
When you fly solo, you obviously don’t have to worry about a passenger or student. If you want to bank suddenly to watch a bird or catch a scene on the ground, go ahead. If you want to take off and land so often you’d wear out a passenger, go ahead. In a 2-seater, you inherit the obligation to assure your passenger or student enjoys him- or herself. Fail to do this and you may drive away a potential ultralighter.
Now complementing the 2-seat Sport 1000 or Sprint 1000 from M-Squared are the Breese models, simply designated DS or SS. Like the Sprint 1000, a Breese SS has a single-surface wing. Contrarily the DS model resembles the Sport 1000, both with a double-surface wing.
The M-Squared machines like the Breese (and the 2-seaters) may look a great deal like Quicksilver models, but there are numerous differences.
Most obvious is the M-Squared strut bracing versus Quicksilver’s wire bracing (although Quicksilver is introducing a 2-seat Sport strut-braced model). Everyone notices this feature immediately but from that point onward, differences become more subtle.
Other differences include a tail plane that is 8 inches further aft. Mather reasons that this longer arm and the more robust tubing bracing structure to the tail help reduce tail shake. The Breese’s (and 1000 series’) steady tail is said to result in less drag which Mather maintains accounts for a flatter glide. He observes this when watching his associate, Ronnie Smith, perform approach after approach while training students at the company’s home field on Smith’s farm.
M-Squared uses dual landing gear downtubes (support members on either end of the engine which meet at the main gear). While adding a couple pounds, this feature may save parts replacement and may be longer lasting in a training environment where these tubes are regularly punished.
Ultralight enthusiasts often note the Breese’s (and 1000 series’) lower amount of wing dihedral. Quicksilver models have long had a large amount of dihedral (wingtips that are higher than the center section), and this dihedral is a component of the ultralight’s stability. Many believe lower dihedral causes M-Squared models to fly faster but this isn’t the reason for M-Squared’s change. Instead, Mather says lower dihedral produces less adverse yaw and improves turn characteristics. He claims the greater speed of his double-surface wing models is due to less washout, not less dihedral. The M-Squared designs use 1.5° of dihedral and washout, though a loaded wing will wash out to 2.5° in flight. (See more comments on these design qualities as they affect handling.)
Even more subtle is the prop diameter and position. M-Squared pushed the tubes out further and was able to install a 72-inch prop and still have 2 inches of clearance on either prop tip.
While I agree that longer 3-blade props are quieter than shorter 2-blade ones, another design change may be even more of a factor in this noise reduction. A pusher prop located very near the wing (or fuselage) creates a lot of racket. Moving the prop aft even a small amount helps by reducing conflict between a spinning prop and the air washing off the surface ahead of it. M-Squared was able to relocate the prop about 21¼2 inches away from the wing’s trailing edge.
Step, Turn, Sit
It will require a careful look to see the difference in cockpit structure between the single- and 2-seat M-Squared models. At first I believed they had simply used the same steel tube frame because the cockpit appeared so wide. As you look at the lone seat in either Breese model, it appears to be distant from the corner brackets where the struts attach. However, the rear cockpit frame is much wider in the 2-seaters.
I thought the pod on the Breese DS was made to fit the 2-seater as well. This seemed logical given the cost of creating fiberglass molds. However, the large fairing on the Breese DS is only for the single-seater. Mather says he made it as large as it is so owners can attach other carry compartments. In fact, he calls the pod a “body” in that it has a rear section in addition to a nose and windscreen.
After I flew the Breese DS with the pod in the photos accompanying this article, a single change was made back at the factory. M-Squared angled the windscreen back slightly, removing a nose-up tendency when you increased forward speed. Mather now reports this nose-up action has been neutralized.
In the Breese SS with no pod, entry is easy. Step across the nosewheel tubes, face forward, and sit down. In the DS model I flew with the nose pod and windscreen, this process was a little complicated, but it remains simple. The large windscreen pivots forward on a hinge fastened to the pod. Before you fasten belts, flip the windscreen back.
One concern I have regards the use of lap belts only. I don’t believe lap belts are enough. M-Squared evidently agrees, supplying a 4-point restraint system that will keep you securely in your seat.
No question about it, this M-Squared DS model is a roomy plane. Perhaps designed for large Americans, the broad cockpit can easily be identified in the fiberglass body-equipped DS model in the photos. While the seat size itself is somewhat limited, big fellows have more room to work with in the Breese ultralights.
As discussed earlier, the M-Squared models feature lower wing dihedral. With higher dihedral you get a low roll-in effort, however, the ultralight tries to fly out of most turns. A wing with lots of dihedral doesn’t present much resistance to roll-in control but it wants to fly straight, so it will tend to reduce bank in shallower turns if the bank angle is not maintained with stick control. Mather feels that flattening the dihedral on his ultralights creates for turns that stabilize better (less roll-out tendency) and reduces adverse yaw. Of course, another way to put this is to say they are “less stable,” with less tendency to straighten. Novice pilots may find higher wing dihedral more to their liking and more experienced ultralight pilots may prefer the M-Squared.
Roll response on a stouter (less flexible) airframe is improved with a sturdier trailing edge. Mather feels the more robust tubing used in this location gives the ailerons a firmer connection, and this permits an improvement in control surface effectiveness.
In my experience with several of the M-Squared designs, I was pleased with the control response, though I also judged I could feel the additional weight associated with a tough but heavier airframe. In general the M-Squared models are somewhat more ponderous in handling characteristics than other similar ultralights. And though this may sound like a criticism, some pilots will prefer this M-Squared feel. Handling qualities are very personal and what works for one pilot may be unacceptable for another.
Stronger and More
While the M-Squared designs are heavier than similar ultralights, they can accommodate a more powerful engine than a lighter airframe. Indeed, to my awareness, M-Squared made the first fitting of the popular – but heavy – Rotax 912 to this style of ultralight.
Some ultralight enthusiasts will surely be critical of the Breese airframe’s weight, and these flyers may prefer cable-braced models.
Contrarily, others will like the invitation to fit more potent engines on the M-Squared models. Many pilots want the biggest engine that will fit on an airframe and the Breese or 1000-series can do so based on the work of M-Squared to date.
Rather than apologize for the heavier airframe, Mather suggests that his strut-braced planes will outglide the cable-braced models. This may be true, though such things are hard to measure accurately.
Of course, the Breese models operate at slightly higher speeds than wire-braced ones due to their somewhat higher wing loadings. This has also been the case for other efforts to put struts on similar type designs, or when ultralights like Phantom-type designs were redone with struts. The greater speed of the Breese (over a lighter ultralight) isn’t particularly large in my observation.
Some potential customers feel similar models to M-Squared’s products are quite slow for their use while other pilots say slow speeds are precisely what they like about ultralights. Much like handling and engine size preferences, the desired speed range also differs with every pilot.
The Breese models come standard with the 40-hp Rotax 447 but can handle the 46- and 50-hp Rotax 503, 66-hp 582, and even the 75-hp 618, says Mather. This alone is bound to endear them to some ultralight enthusiasts. Certainly the 50-horse Rotax 503 DC is sure to be selected often as many ultralight enthusiasts regard it as perhaps the finest 2-stroke engine available. Since it does not require the radiator and cooling liquid reservoirs of the much more complex Rotax 582 liquid-cooled 2-cycle engine, it is substantially lighter and makes for a simpler engine to mount and maintain.
Like similar counterparts, the M-Squared models display very modest stall characteristics. What is truly surprising is how slow that stall is in spite of the heavier weight of a strutted, larger airframed Breese. In the Breese SS, stall crept down below the mid-20s, low enough that airspeed readings are less reliable on a standard panel-mounted ASI.
Fortunately, the same slow-speed capability of the Breese made it fun to fly low over the fields in what I believe to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of ultralight flight. Another such regime is float flying and here again the Breese should excel, but for a different reason.
Water-based operations can be very hard on aircraft. Examine a Cessna 172 or 182 fitted for float flying and you’ll see additions of steel bracing that are needed to preserve the plane’s integrity while pounding through chop en route to flying speed. An ultralight can jump off the water faster, which makes them better in some ways. Yet it can’t hurt to have a tough airframe like the M-Squared models. This is especially true for water-based training or for tourist flying. Those of you pursuing such activities may want to give M-Squared ultralights another look.
What’s Your Preference?
The Breese models should find numerous buyers, in my opinion, and they may be glad to have the differences of the M-Squared design over similar ultralights.
However, those wanting a genuine Part 103-compliant ultralight will have to look elsewhere than M-Squared. The Breese SS tips the scales at 330 pounds and even with floats and a parachute, the model cannot stay within the weight parameters of Part 103. This is a shame, as the machine is certainly an ultralight in nearly every other way except empty weight. So Breese owners have no choice but to register their aircraft and put N-numbers on them. Fortunately, many UltralightFlying! readers hold an FAA private pilot’s license and this would present few problems for them.
Both the Breese SS and DS are going to cost you $12,450.
Both Breese models come with a 13-inch nosewheel and 15-inch mains, 6-inch internal drum brakes, a sturdy 4-point seat restraint, an 8-gallon tank, and gear drive versus belt reduction drive.
M-Squared has earned a place in the ultralight industry. And since the company pairs two deeply experienced veterans of the ultralight community, buyers have greater assurance that they aren’t taking a gamble to make a purchase from the Mississippi outfit. Now three years into production, the bumps associated with starting a new company are mostly behind M-Squared. I recommend you give Paul Mather or Ronnie Smith a call and see what they can do for you.
If you are a wind-in-the-face enthusiast, this Mississippi Breese might fit your desires perfectly.
|Empty weight||330 pounds SS 335 pounds DS|
|Gross weight||750 pounds|
|Wing area||168 square feet|
|Wing loading||4.5 pounds per square foot|
|Kit type||Assembly Kit|
|Build time||100 hours 1|
|Notes:||1 Quick-build kit takes 30-75 hours, depending on experience level.|
|Standard engine||Rotax 447|
|Power||40 hp at 6,500 rpm|
|Power loading||18.8 pounds per horsepower|
|Cruise speed||46 mph SS 51 mph DS|
|Never exceed speed||68 mph SS 74 mph DS|
|Rate of climb at gross||975 fpm SS 925 fpm DS|
|Takeoff distance at gross||75 feet SS 80 feet DS|
|Landing distance at gross||50 feet SS 60 feet DS|
|Standard Features||Removable strut-braced wings and robust airframe with no cable bracing, side-mounted joystick, large outboard ailerons, drum brakes, large wheels and tires, 4-point restraint systems, 5-gallon fuel tank, 2-blade wood prop, choice of wing colors (no painting required).|
|Options||Electric start, choice of 3-blade props, instruments, 8- or 16-gallon tank, fiberglass body, saddle bags, ballistic parachute, quick-build kit.|
|Construction||Aluminum tubing, welded steel, Dacron® sailcloth.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros – Breese is M-Squared’s new single-seat design. Popularity of struts explains why Breese has them; pilots like them. Beefy airframe. High payload invites big guys to have a closer look. While the airframe beefiness may not be needed for flight loads, it should make the Breese more durable; your investment may last longer.
Cons – Cannot qualify for Part 103 (by a wide empty-weight margin), requiring an FAA certificate; more cumbersome than Part 103 ultralights. Still a basic design with open cockpit configuration; if you don’t like that, this definitely isn’t your plane. Laborious field assembly with no folding wings, takes about one hour.
Subsystems available to pilot such as: Flaps; Fuel sources; Electric start; In-air restart; Brakes; Engine controls; Navigations; Radio; (items covered may be optional).
Pros – Standard fuel tank holds 5 gallons but you can opt for an 8- or 16-gallon tank. You can add optional accessories. Lots of fuel can be carried if you can give up some useful load.
Cons – Stick repositioning trim is not as effective as discreet surface trim. A small hand may have trouble fully gripping the brake. Engine is up rather high for easy maintenance without a stool or ladder.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros – Very secure pilot cage, with dual sets of steel-triangulated structure and dual landing gear downtubes to brace the main gear and engine mount, all fitted with very stout-looking gussets and brackets. Four-point seat belts are standard. Side stick is comfortably placed. Should be huge fun on floats in warm weather. Easy fuel quantity observation.
Cons – It’s w-i-d-e open and if that isn’t for you, neither is the Breese (a well-named aircraft). Seat is raked back and this is steeper than some pilots prefer. Use of a radio will require a pouch or special brackets; instruments not in the flight deck (see photos) will also have to be slung on a handy tube somewhere. No actual gear suspension, just air in the tires and flex in the tubes.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros – Big tires and wheels make ground operations more secure (13-inch nose and 15-inch mains), offering more “suspension” than you’d expect. Steerable nosewheel is standard. Six-inch drum brakes are standard equipment and are reasonably powerful. Very accurate and predictable taxi steering. Forward visibility is unparalleled.
Cons – Nondifferential brakes (though hardly needed). Overhead vision obscured by wing. Turn radius is wider than I expected. No other negatives.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros – Super slow takeoffs and landings; an “if-you-can’t-land-this” ultralight that defines ease of operation. Strong acceleration with optimal Rotax 503 engine. Pitch is very cooperative throughout approach. Very short takeoff run (will be slightly longer with standard Rotax 447 engine). Many new students will enjoy the Breese.
Cons – Speeds will be slightly higher in the double-surface model (though still surprisingly slow). Like most low kinetic energy ultralights, Breese loses energy readily, requiring you keep your speed before touchdown. Slips are virtually ineffective due to the lack of vertical area. No other negatives.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros – Handling seemed reasonably responsive probably due to lower dihedral and stiffer airframe which offers a more secure anchor for the control surfaces. Two-thirds-span ailerons are quite brisk on this lightest of M-Squared designs. Easy precision turns. You can drive the Breese around very well with rudder only.
Cons – er only.
CONS – Runs short of stick back range on steep banks at lower power settings (cured with enough power added). Due to rudder dominance, you must push the pedals generously to coordinate turns; Dutch roll exercises may not bring good results as fast as you’d like. Adverse yaw is clearly present on the Breese (though factory claims it is less with low dihedral).
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros – This is one of the kings of slow-speed flying; if you like such flight, then you’ll love both models of the Breese. Terrific at low-over-the-field flying. Float flying (not tested) should prove quite good. Water or ground, you won’t spend long earthbound. Equipped with the standard Rotax 447, climb is still potent; close to 1,000 fpm with the Rotax 503. Despite good performance, still appropriate for most beginning pilots.
Cons – Single-surface wing model as tested (double is available for same price) limits top speeds to the 50s. Consumes fuel at a faster rate than more enclosed aircraft. Glide performance is pretty soft, thanks to the higher drag airframe. Sink rate is also average at best. Loss of energy on landings is something to watch; tells of high form drag.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros – Significant amount of steel surrounds cockpit and basic design has long proven itself capable of absorbing most impact loads. Don’t sweat stalls; all were very mild and come at absurd speeds (in the mid 20s even at gross). Excellent pitch stability and good response to engine power. Test plane was ballistic parachute-equipped (appreciated by your reviewer!).
Cons – Somewhat less laterally stable aircraft than those with more dihedral (though fine for more experienced pilots). Wing sometimes fell off to one side in stall. Higher weight means somewhat higher stall speeds. With the high engine, you get some nose-over on fast power increase.
Addresses the questions: “Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?”
Pros – Sewn Dacron® surface significantly speeds kit assembly (which is said to take 100 hours; quick-build kit listed at 30-75 hours). Breese is available as single- or double-surface model; no change in price for this decision. At $12,450 for the whole aircraft kit, including engine, offers a fair price for a tough and complete package. Boss Paul Mather has earned a reputation for good customer service. Strutted look is what many buyers seek; should help at resale time.
Cons – No Part 103 operations are possible. Buyers in cold climates won’t much care for the wide-open cockpit (without optional body).