Ian Chichester-Miles, formerly Chief Research engineer of British Aerospace Aircraft Division at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, established Chichester-Miles Consultants (CMC) to develop a high performance light business jet.
Design of the four-seat Leopard started in January 1981 and was sufficiently advanced for a mockup to be completed in early 1982. Detail design and construction of a prototype by Designability Ltd of Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire, began in July 1982, under contract to CMC.
CMC Leopard cn 001
A four-seat light business jet aircraft, the wings are two-spar structure, primarily of GFRP, with some carbonfibre reinforcement. Full span electrically actuated trailing-edge flaps of carbonfibre, with deflections of +/- 45° for high drag landing and air-braking/lift dumping. No ailerons or spoilers. Thickness/chord ratio 14% at root, 11% at tip. Sweepback at quarter-chord 25°.
The Leopard airframe has an all-moving fin and tailplane and wings that combine laminar flow with supercritical technology.
Cantiler mid-wing monoplane. ARA designed wing section and 3D profiles combining laminar flow and super critical wing technology.
The fuselage is built in three sections: Unpressurised nose section accomodating avionics and nosewheel gear when retract, pressurised cabin section (production aircraft only) and unpressurised rear section providing a baggage bay, with fuel tanks below and equipment bays to rear.
Basic monocoque structure, primarily of GFRP with some carbonfibre reinforcement; fore and aft cabin bulkheads, engine and tailplane axle frames moulded in.
Pressure cabin section divided approximately along aircraft horizontal datum, with upper section formed by electrically actuated upward opening canopy hinged at windscreen leading-edge. Multiple latches around canopy lower-edge. Bonded-in acrylic side windows carry pressurisation tension. Nose opens for access to avionics.
Powered by two NPT 301 engines developing 300-350 lb thrust, this glass-fibre composite mini business jet is designed to keep pace with Learjets and Jumbos. Complete with a glass cockpit, the Leopard will carry four passengers and baggage over 1500 nm at around 500 mph at 41,000-45,000 feet.
CMC Leopard cn 001
First shown statically at Farnborough in 1986, the first flight of the prototype (G-BKRL) took place on 12 December I988 at RAE Bedford, piloted by Cranfield test pilot Angus McVitie for a 27min flight.
CMC has limited the aircraft to 130kt and a maximum altitude of 3,500ft. The Leopard prototype was tested from speeds as low as 75kt with maximum 41° flap. Minimum zero-flap speed was less than 90kt. Undercarriage cycling was proved during this flight.
The prototype flying in the 1990 Farnborough display.
The converted missile NPT301 turbojet engines were intended solely for the 001, and NPT was slated to develop new engines for the final version of the aircraft. But when NPT went bankrupt, the entire Leopard project was delayed for one year until CMC teamed up with Williams International Corp., Walled Lake, Michigan.
FJX-1 powered Leopard
Williams developed the FJX-1 engine for CMC's first production-configured aircraft, the 002, built at the Designability R&D Center in Dilton Marsh, England. Rated at 680 lb-thrust, the FJX-1 had more than twice the power of the NPT301. That was okay for the 002, but it was not quite enough for the final aircraft.
Engines: 2 x Noel Penny NPT 301 turbofan, 300-350 lb.
Cruise: 800+ kph.
Range: 2775+ km.