ARV_Super2_logo.jpg   ARV Aviation Ltd.
Island_logo.jpg   Island Aircraft
ASL_logo.jpg   Aviation (Scotland) Ltd.


After breaking the world land speed record in 1983, Richard Noble, on returning to the UK, recognised that there was a gap in the market for a low cost light two seat trainer. Noble brought in Bruce Giddings as chief designer, who gained experience with microlights along with Nick Sibley and James Morton from John Britten's Sheriff project, by then abandoned. Noble formed ARV Aviation Ltd (ARV standing for Air Recreational Vehicle) and set up a factory at Sandown on the Isle of Wight to build the aircraft, named the ARV1 Super2, the first prototype flying on 11 March 1985. It was grounded in November 1987 owing to problems with the three-cylinder Hewland powerplant. Although these were solved, it forced ARV into Administration.

Chris Wald, who had been brought in as managing director of ARV when Noble stepped down from the financial direction of the company, formed Island Aircraft in 1988 to acquire the assets of ARV. Continued production on the Isle of Wight was considered uneconomic and, in an effort to reduced costs, Aviation (Scotland) Ltd. (ASL) was established in Hamilton in 1990 to take over development. Still the program was plagued with high costs but in 1993 found a partner 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, about 95km (60m) from Kalstad in southern Sweden. The aircraft was renamed the Opus and had the Austrian 80h.p. Bombardier Rotax 912A four stroke engine in place of the original Hewland powerplant. 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 of St Paul, Minnesota. 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 supposedly sold six kits, although only one appears to have been completed. Production moved to SkyCraft Int'l. Inc. of Homeworth, Ohio, in 1999, where at least one aircraft appears to have been built (although some sources attribute this to Highlander) and then in 2004 to Opus Aircraft Llc. of Stoneville, North Carolina, the Opus version designated 'Super 2' with separating space before number. In mid 2008, British entrepreneur Tony Dawson bought Opus Aircraft. Unfortunately, this too failed and the company was sold in November 2013.

Company References
  1. Wikipedia
  2. Flight International 13 Sep 1986
  3. Flight International 19 Mar 1988
  4. Flight International 04 Jun 1988
  5. Flight International 25 Jun 1988
  6. Flight International 30 Jul 1988
  7. Flight International 21 Jan 1989
  8. Flight International 06 May 1989
  9. Flight International 11 Aug 1993
  10. Flight International 15 Sep 1993
  11. Flight International 21 Sep 1993
  12. Flight International 01 Jun,1994
  13. Flight International 12 Apr 1995
  14. Flight International 27 Sep 1995
  15. Flight International 17 Jul, 2008

Project Data top

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
Spec (Requirement)
   ARV-1  Super2    1985    Prdn  35  2S, 1E high-wing light plane  1,2,3,4

Project References
  1. Air International Jun 1985
  2. Air Pictorial Apr 1986
  3. Flight 06 Apr 1985
  4. Flight 13 Sep 1986

Production Summary top
Select the Prdn_List button to go to the appropriate listings page.

Note: In the Production Summary, conversions are only listed where they result in a change from one Type to another. Changes to sub-type or Mark Number are not shown in the summary. For details of these, see the individual listings.

Type No
Qty (New)
Qty (Conv.)
 ARV Super2
 Opus 280

Total ARV Production


Total ARV Cancelled Orders


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V1.4.4 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated August 2020