From the Cockpit Part 9: M-Squared Breese 2 X/D
Editor’s Note: This is part nine of an ongoing series documenting the flights of active-duty US Navy Pilot Ryan Rankin on his journey to fly 52 planes in 52 weeks through the year 2017.
Crossing state lines to St. Elmo, Alabama, Rankin meets with M-Squared Aircraft Founder Paul Mather at the M-Squared hangar where his team has just finished constructing one of its signature aircraft, the Breese 2 X/D. With its fabric wing, exposed tubing and tricycle-style setup, Rankin expects something similar to the GT450 he flew weeks prior—if looks are to be trusted. “But that’s about the only similarity,” he says. “It doesn’t fly like anything I’ve flown before.”
It all comes down to the rudder, he says. While most modern aircraft disguise rudder control with stability augmentation—using computer sensors to automatically synchronize the rudder’s movements with the pilot’s manipulation of the ailerons for what’s called a coordinated turn—Mather’s Breese 2 X/D calls for a pilot’s direct engagement with both the rudder and the ailerons. When the rudder and ailerons are not in sync, the result is an uncoordinated turn, the worst of which can result in the plane ripping its own tail off mid-flight. It’s tricky, says Rankin, requiring a lot of attention and precise, small adjustments.
But the Breese 2 X/D is a rugged beast as well, he says. Nimble and light, but solid with a “very sturdy” feel. Taking to the skies in 30-degree weather in an exposed cockpit, Rankin and Mather flew for around 30 minutes, taking careful note of the parachute’s placement but never needing it. Saving the aerobatics for next time, Rankin practiced turning and landing while Mather intoned “Rudder, rudder…” in the seat next to him. He doesn’t mind.
“The flights where I go up and get taken to school are the ones I enjoy the most,” Rankin says. They’re all enjoyable, but there’s something about exploring the unfamiliar and expanding his horizons that harkens back to the entire point of the endeavor. “I like being challenged,” he says. “I’m engaged and I’m learning.”
For more about the flight in Rankin's own words and a video of the flight, follow the link below.
Pictured: Ryan Rankin and Paul Mather in the Breese 2 X/D. Photo courtesy of Ryan Rankin.