If your looking for uber cheap and fun flying and can live with a single seater I see my old Tipsy Nipper is up for sale, bloomin hoot that thing was and cost peanuts to run.....
Extremely easy and safe to fly, fully aerobatic and even a beginner at aeros is unlikely to get themselves into much trouble. If in doubt, chop the throttle and pull to the nearest horizon....it wont exceed VNE with the throttle closed and you aint going to overstress the airframe....
Its on AFORS, G-CCFE and no I'm not on commission, I'd buy it back if I didnt already have 2 other aircraft....
The original ARV was intended to replace the C152 and had an odd engine which had a design fault. The co went bust, but the engine was sorted. The rights were transferred to a co in the US(?) which sold kits and several UK examples were reengined with 912 and even a mid west. I understand the airframe is good and it is nice to fly but fuel capacity and useful load are poor. UK aircraft are operating on LAA permitís.
Great to fly easy to operate. Seem to remember it had a hand brake rather than toe brakes. (20 years ago) You could get the wings off and trailer the aircraft, rigging was quick. The view is brilliant as the wings are shoulder height and behind you.
The Hewland engine was a nightmare. Designing a new airframe and fitting a new and untested engine was a bold move, and with the benefit of hindsight one that proved to be a mistake. I have only flown the aircraft with the Hewland engine, but with this aside I can add this.
From a pilot's perspective the ARV Super 2 is an excellent little airplane with beautifully harmonized and very effective controls. In pitch the control deflection is perhaps a little too light and effective, but this only caused initial problems with those more familiar with, or transitioning from, the Cessna 150 series. From a teaching perspective the aircraft demonstrates everything the syllabus calls for, and in many respects it shares the best characteristics of the Tiger Moth - it will spin if mishandled (very well actually) and it does require turns to be properly coordinated. To some this may seem to be a disadvantage, but if the objective is to teach students to fly properly from the get go, I consider it to be an advantage. (Bye the way, the aircraft responds perfectly to standard spin recovery).
For cross country training one needs to balance the range, which is payload limited, against the excellent view that the student is afforded. From a safety perspective this latter attribute is a massive advantage over the Cessna.
As mentioned by another poster the aircraft does not have toe brakes. This is a disadvantage, but not one that should discount acquisition. One simply needs to learn to close the throttle before applying the hand brake, which is done with the right hand. Actually the disk brakes are extremely effective, and will counter full power when stationary, but it is something that does require getting used to....a few hours should do it.
With the Hewland engine fitted the take off performance was reasonable, but on wet grass one needs to be aware that the slim main wheels are more likely to sink into the surface. Regarding landing, and with a bit of experience, you can drop the ARV onto a tea towel and stop. Getting into a strip however does not necessarily mean that you can get out - I know from experience.
Having dismantled one I can attest to the fact that it is not quite as simple as one may think. Do not count on this as an advantage. The aircraft was not designed to be de-rigged like a glider.
As a group aircraft I would say yes, you will have a LOT of fun, provided that; You don't have the Hewland engine fitted, you have a minimum of 600 metres if grass and you aren't planning on long range trips.
Over the years a/c come along which offer the better mouse trap and acquire a small but dedicated following as a consequence.
The ARV fits this bill as does the V tail Robin ATL and to a lesser extent the Pup/Bulldog.
But the enduring success of popular manufacturers to supply bread and butter is what the market wants.
I've chosen to own a mixed bag of one offs so I can speak from experience. I had the knowledge, time and money to devote (or is that pour into?) keeping them airworthy and part of the enjoyment was the engineering bit.
However, when I wanted to take friends aloft I grabbed the club tourer to make life easy.
As I've said before, if the machine was that good wouldn't there be lots of 'em? From what you've set out I guess I'd have to advise extreme caution as forming a group is difficult enough without doing it around a specialist a/c.
I have not flown one but I am helping with a rebuild. My impressions is of a typically British built aircraft,well over engineered.For a light aircraft it is far to complicated and not much fun to work on. Parts are a problem. A guy in the US holds the rights to the aircraft and doesn't like letting go of any of the draws.So getting any thing other than service parts is difficult.The aircraft I'm helping with is fitted with the Hewland,which I am told has stopped once or twice in flight. I'm told its nice to fly and if you can find one with out the Hewland engine it might be worth it. Saying that the guy who designed the engine is able to rebuild them. But I would advice an extensive survey as they are getting a bit old and as we have found corrosion has started to take hold