Mr 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.
The prototype flew for the first time in decembre 1988 at RAE Bedford, in the hands of Cranfield test pilot Angus McVitie.
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.
Four-sea light business jet aircraft.
Cantiler mid-wing monoplane. ARA designed wing section and 3D profiles combining laminar flow and super critical wing technology.
Thickness/chord ratio 14% at root, 11% at tip.
Sweepback at quarter-chord 25°.
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.
Production aircraft was planned with liquid de-icing and decontamination system in leading-edge.
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.