85 CFS Badge


85 Combat Flying School

 Introduction to 85 CFS

The moving and re-establishment of 85 CFS (Hawk) to AFB Makhado has been ongoing for the greater part of 2005. Although 85 CFS (Impala) was still operational till their official closing down on 30 November 2005, a lot has been happening behind the scenes at AFB Makhado with regards to the establishment of facilities, and arrival of the first Hawk aircraft at the unit on 9 September 2005. The first ground-crew training, in the newly established CTC (Centralised Training Centre) facilities was completed during July 2005. The initial cadre aircrew conversion commenced in September 2005 and was completed on 8 December 2005.

The newly appointed Officer Commanding of 85 CFS is Lt Col D.J. (Daan) van der Linde. He has been involved in the Hawk project for quite some time, and has thus far rendered valuable service towards the program.

An official handing over of command parade will probably be held early in 2006.


 History of 85 CFS

At the Unit we endeavour to structure our actions according to our motto.

85 Combat Flying School has its origin in the Air Operational School that was stationed at Langebaanweg. On 4 October 1967 the Unit moved to Pietersburg and the name changed to Advanced Flying School. The name 85 Combat Flying School was given to the Unit in 1982.

Initially Advanced Flying School operated Vampires Mk 52’s and Mk 55’s, until the Impala Mk I replaced these aircraft in 1972. Mirage IIID2Z aircraft were attached to the Unit in 1974 and Sabres from 1 Squadron in 1975. The Sabre was withdrawn from service in 1980 and was replaced by Impala Mk II aircraft.

Due to the demands on the existing Impala and Mirage flights, ministerial approval was granted to establish a new flying school that would take over the role of the Mirage Flight. On 1 July 1986, 89 Combat Flying School was established and 85 Combat Flying School became solely responsible for all Impala combat training in the SAAF.

The Unit has seen operational service in the SWA/Angolan conflict as well as in various cross-border strikes against terrorist camps in neighbouring countries.

The Unit receive its unit colours on its 21st birthday on 4 October 1988 and national colours a year later. During September 1992 85 Combat Flying School celebrated its 25th anniversary. For this occasion Atlas Aviation painted an Impala Mk II (known as the Gannet) in the Unit colours. It is flown at open days and public shows.

Due to the rationalisation programme AFB Pietersburg was closed and the Unit relocated to AFB Hoedspruit on 1 January 1993.

83 Jet Flying School Langebaanweg was also closed and has become part of 85 Combat Flying School, previous home to the Silver Falcon aerobatic team. The Silver Falcon aerobatic team is now part of Langebaanweg central Flying School.

The unit is currently converting to the Hawk Mk 120 after the withdrawal of the Impala Mk I and II aircraft at the end of 2005, but should the need arise, the Unit can be employed in an operational role and live up to its motto –



 Unit Values


Fighter Training Excellence


Providing the SAAF with fighter trained personnel


 Officer Commanding

Lt Col D.J. van der Linde





Groundcrew busy with training in the CTC.


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