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Role: Training
Status: Current
Aircraft: Hawk Mk 120

85 Combat Flying School

"Detrimento Sumus" (Our Purpose is Danger)
About this Squadron
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.

Other Squadrons based at Air Force Base Makhado:
102 Squadron, 2 Squadron, 3 Air Servicing Unit, 515 Squadron

Other Current Squadrons:
1 Air Servicing Unit, 10 Air Depot, 10 Squadron, 101 Squadron, 102 Squadron, 104 Squadron, 105 Squadron, 106 Squadron, 107 Squadron, 108 Squadron, 110 Squadron, 111 Squadron, 140 Squadron, 142 Squadron, 15 Squadron, 15 Squadron - 'C' Flight, 16 Squadron, 17 Squadron, 18 Deployment Support Unit, 19 Squadron, 2 Air Servicing Unit, 2 Squadron, 21 Squadron, 22 Squadron, 28 Squadron, 3 Air Servicing Unit, 35 Squadron, 41 Squadron, 44 Squadron, 5 Air Servicing Unit, 500 Squadron, 501 Squadron, 502 Squadron, 503 Squadron, 504 Squadron, 505 Squadron, 506 Squadron, 508 Squadron, 514 Squadron, 515 Squadron, 516 Squadron, 525 Squadron, 526 Squadron, 6 Air Servicing Unit, 60 Squadron, 68 Air School, 80 Air Navigation School, 87 Helicopter Flying School, 92 Tactical Airfield Unit, Air Force Command and Control School, Air Force Gymnasium, Air Publications Service Centre, Airspace Control Unit, Bushveld Airspace Control Sector, Central Flying School, Central Photographic Institute, Combined Auction Centre, Command and Control School, Electronic Warfare Centre, Ellisras Reporting Post, Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre, Lowveld Airspace Control Sector, Mobile Communications Unit, Rapid Deployment Air Operations Team 43, Rapid Deployment Air Operations Team 46, SA Air Force College, SAAF Band, SAAF Museum Historic Flight, SAAF Police, SAAF Procurement Unit, SAAF Telecommunications Centre, School of Cookery, Test Flight and Development Centre