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PH-ARV ARV Aviation ARV-1 Super 2 c/n 015 - Hoogeveen airfield in Holland - 19 April 2018 more at vliegveld Hoogeveen

The ARV Aviation ARV 1 Super 2 is a two-seat single engined; braced shoulder-wing; light aircraft originally developed as a basic trainer aircraft. The aircraft has forward-swept wings and a fixed tricycle landing gear. Development of the aircraft started in 1984, when Richard J.A. Noble, known from breaking the world land speed record in 1983 and 1997, saw a gap in the market for a new all-British light aircraft that had to be considerably cheaper than the popular Cessna 150. He started with a project for the low cost light two seat trainer by hiring Bruce Giddings as chief designer, who gained experience with microlights, along with Nick Sibley and James Morton from Sheriff Aerospace, that went into receivership in 1984. Noble formed ARV Aviation Ltd (ARV standing for Air Recreational Vehicle) and set up a factory at Sandown on the Isle of Wight, the former location of Sheriff Aerospace, to build the aircraft, named the ARV1 Super 2. With the main spar of the wing attached to the bulkhead and the wing sweep forward the basic concept of the Super 2 shares the geometry of the SAAB MFI-17. As the aircraft should be a lightweight, chosen was for conventional aluminium ailoy metal construction with a significant use of Supral, a patent British aluminium ailoy. Due to the limited space for the engine a problem arose to find a suitable Britis engine, this problem was solved by Hewland Engineering Ltd., a company in Maidenhead. They designed specifically for the ARV Super 2 the Hewland AE 75 watercooled three-cilinder in-line two stroke engine, developed from Hewland’s own 500 cc twin-cylinder microlight engine. On 11 March 1985, the first prototype G-OARV (ARV 001), made its first flight, in November 1985 followed by a second aircraft G-STWO (ARV 002) to be used as a demonstration model. In November 1987, when ARV had delivered 21 aircraft, including five as kits, and had three company demonstrators flying, the ARV 1 Super 2 was actually grounded owing to problems with the three-cylinder Hewland powerplant. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) directed ARV Aviation to issue a mandatory service bulletin, which calls for replacement of the Hewland AE.75 engine's propeller shaft every lOhr, following a number of failures in service. Production stopped, and 110 workers had been laid off. Although the technical problems were solved, it forced ARV into Administration. In 1988, Island Aircraft was formed to acquire the assets of ARV. Continued production on the Isle of Wight was considered uneconomic and, in an effort to reduced costs, in 1999 Aviation (Scotland) Ltd. (ASL) was established to take over development. Still the program was plagued with high costs but in 1993 a partner was found in Uvan Invest, a subsidiary of Swedish engineering company Uddeholm Tooling. ASL Sweden was established as a joint venture, under which Scottish-built kits were to be assembled at Hagfors in Sweden. The aircraft was renamed the Opus and the original Hewland powerplant was replaced by the 80 hp Bombardier Rotax 912A four stroke engine. The aircraft was also intended to be available from ASL in kit form under the name Highlander. This was not to come about, and the kit plane was taken over by Highlander Aircraft in the USA. The factory-built aircraft, now known as the Opus 280, were still intended to be built in Sweden, the company having by now become ASL Hagfors Aero but, by September 1995, they too had gone into voluntary receivership. By August 1996, Highlander had sold six kits. In 1999, SkyCraft purchased rights to Super2 from Highlander Aircraft Corporation. Highlander had obtained the design from Aviation Scotland in UK and became sole source when co-licensee, ASL Hagfors Aero of Sweden, ceased trading in September 1995. No production has been reported since 1999. In 2004, Opus Aircraft LLC, was started by Frank Auman Jr. and the British entrepreneur Tony Dawson, who purchased the design in 2004 to begin making the aircraft out of the Shiloh Airport in Rockingham County. The Opus version of the ARV Aviation ARV-1 Super 2 was designated 'Super 2'. In February 2008, the 'Super 2' was approved and appeared on the Special Light-Sport Aircraft, or SLSA list. Since it is silent quite around the design and Opus Aircraft LLC is offered for sale.

Skylight at Hilversum airfield in the Netherlands wanted to use the ARV Aviation ARV-1 Super 2 as a training plane. On 7 February 1986, Skylight reserved registration PH-ARV; PH-BRV and PH-CRV in the Dutch civil aviation register for their planned ARV-1 Super 2 aircraft. ARV Aviation ARV-1 Super 2 c/n 015 was the first airframe destined for Skylight and on 17 June 1987, the 1986-built ARV Aviation ARV-1 Super 2 c/n 015 was registered G-BMWH in the UK with Colton Aviation International, London. The same year, ARV-1 Super 2 G-BMWH arrived at Hilversum. Pending the type approval by the Dutch CAA, Skylight flew the ARV-1 Super 2 first as G-BMWH. In 1987 a number of ARVs had to make an emergency landing owing to problems with the three-cylinder Hewland AE75 engine in combination with the propeller shaft. In November 1987, the UK aviation authorities therefore grounded the Super 2 for some time, including the G-BMHW at Hilversum. The problems did not improve the popularity of the ARV Aviation ARV-1 Super 2. On 22 May 1989, registration G-BMWH was cancelled as exported to the Netherlands, and on 23 May 1989 the aircraft was finally registered PH-ARV with Skylight BV, Loosdrecht. Skylight did not fly a lot with aircraft and ended with just one ARV-1 Super 2. On 26 November 1989, the reservations for registration PH-BRV and PH-CRV were cancelled. The PH-ARV was sold and on 10 May 1993 registered with Wingspan at Hilversum airfield. In service with Wingspan, the aircraft was completely rebuilt with Maintain a Plane and an 100 hp Rotax 912 uls two stroke engine was installed together with a new three bladed propeller. With cooperation of the Dutch CAA, the factory-built aitrcaft was changed in the Dutch aviation register into experimental. On 6 July 2004, Wingspan sold the PH-ARV to a privat owner and the aircraft moved to Lelystad Airport. On 19 April 2018, ARV Aviation ARV-1 Super 2 PH-ARV was seen at Hoogeveen airfield.

page last updated: 21-04-2018
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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