Unit Information: 85 Combat Flying School

Unit Abreviation
Unit Name
85 Combat Flying School
Total Deaths
"Detrimento Sumus" (Our Purpose is Danger)

At the end of World War Two, the various flying, bombing and gunnery schools were disbanded and a single Bombing, Gunnery and Navigation School was established at Langebaanweg in 1946. In the 1950's, the name changed to Air Operations School, flying Harvards, Spitfire MkIXes, Vampire T11s, FB52s and T55s. The unit moved to Pietersburg in October 1967 and in 1970 the Vampires were replaced by the Impala Mk I.

The School again changed its name to the Advanced Flying School, but on 1 August 1972 it was changed once again to 85 Advanced Flying School. By 1973 the school was completely re-equipped with Impala MkIs and Mirage IIIDZs. On 30th October 1974 the unit received the first Mirage III DZ, D2Z and EZ previously operated by 3 Squadron and a Mirage Flight was formed to operate the Mirages. The Sabre (previously operated by 1 Squadron) served with the Schools Sabre Flight from January 1976 to February 1980 and the Impala MkII was added to the fleet operated by the School. A further name change took place in 1982 when it became 85 Combat Flying School. On 1st July 1986 the Mirage Flight separated from the unit to be established as 89 Combat Flying School. The School was also operationally deployed during the Border War.

The unit was deactivated at AFB Pietersburg on 29th November 1992 to be moved to AFB Hoedspruit. On 1st January 1993 85 Combat Flying School absorbed 83 Jet Flying School and was reactivated at AFB Hoedspruit. All personnel were to be transferred to AFB Hoedspruit by 31st January 1993.

The School migrated to AFB Makhado in January 2005 and was the last unit to fly both marks of Impala, which were retired in 2006 after the initial phasing in of the Hawk.

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