41 Squadron

 Officer Commanding

Lt.Col. L.L. Sawyer CA

Lieutenant Colonel Lionel Sawyer has been OC of 41 since January 2003. He did pilot’s course in 1982 at CFS Dunnottar where after he was posted to 41 squadron then based in Lanseria. In 1986 he did his Rotary Wing conversion at 87 HFS, AFB Bloemspruit. In 1991 he did instructor’s course at CFS Dunnotar and gave instruction there until 1993 when he was posted to CFS Langebaanweg as an instructor. From 1994 he was part of the SAAF Harvard Aerobatic Team. In 1996 he was posted to 87 HFS as a helicopter instructor and became CFI in 1997. In 1999 he was posted as Chief instructor at 44 squadron and served as acting OC for 2002 where after he came to 41 Squadron as OC in 2003


 Key Values

The 41 Squadron vision reflects the will of all members to continuously improve at everything they do and the dedication to service delivery in all areas.
Through service excellence, an indispensable component of the RSA military Light Airlift capability

The mission statement reflects the broad diversity of the roles entrusted to 41 Squadron:
To provide Professional, Combat Ready Light Air Transport Capabilities to the RSA and all Stake Holders.

In living to the ethos of “TO BE AND NOT TO SEEM (TO BE)” all members conform to the following ideals:

  • Responsibility for all actions is readily accepted and executed.

  • All tasks are executed and completed professionally.

  • Mutual support and teamwork is guaranteed in all roles and activities.

  • Cost effectiveness and operational efficiency are continuously improved through diligent planning and innovation.

  • All achievements by Squadron members are acknowledged.

  • The Squadron will always strive to meet and exceed the customer’s requirements.



True to the historical heritage, 41 Squadron is charged with diverse roles and missions in support of the SANDF and other stakeholders as stipulated in the MRI: 012925 (Phil, Doctrine and Plans) Appendix D. These include all weather, day/night, internal and external capabilities in the following:

The Air Transport School for the Directorate Air Transport and Maritime Systems is a separate entity operating under the 41 Squadron mantle and is responsible for the control and monitoring of all flying courses within the Transport Directorate. The ATS presents the following courses at 41 Squadron:



The historical heritage of 41 Squadron has seen it serve as an Army co-operation unit, a fighter squadron, light reconnaissance, light air transport, VIP/IP and routine air transport unit. Originally founded on the 16 October 1940 at AFB Waterkloof as an army co-operation unit flying Hawker Hartbees biplanes, it was soon involved in the serious business of supporting the South African Forces during the Italian East Africa campaign. The initial involvement was centered in Somalia (Mogadishu) and steadily moved North and West, serving with distinction in Eastern and Northern Africa. The Squadron’s primary roles were varied (as it is today) including strafing, bombing, artillery spotting, pamphlet dropping and photo-reconnaissance.

During September and October of 1941 a contingent of the Squadron converted to Curtiss Mohawks and completed a brief period as a fighter detachment before the Squadron converted to Hurricanes in 1942. In 1943 the squadron moved to the Middle East, flying air defense patrols and convoy escort duties over North Africa, the Mediterranean and Crete.

In February 1944 the Squadron converted to Spitfire Mk V’s and Mk IX’s, flying bomber escort duties for various SAAF Squadrons and other operational tasks (combat air patrols) from Cyprus and Palestine before being disbanded on 30 October 1944. Most of the Squadron members were transferred to other operational SAAF Squadrons.

In January 1963 the Squadron was reformed as a part time Army Co-operation unit based in Potchefstroom flying Auster’s and later Cessna 185’s, mainly in the Artillery spotting role. It became a fully fledged SAAF Squadron in 1968 and was re-equipped with the Atlas A3M Bosbok and C4M Kudu. In 1976 the Squadron was equipped solely with the Kudu and moved to Lanseria airfield. It saw extensive service in the protection of our border, successfully utilising the Kudu in the light transport, reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, pamphlet dropping and general duties roles. The unit was moved back to AFB Swartkop in 1985.

In 1988 the Kudu was retired from service and the Squadron re-equipped with the modern and versatile Cessna Caravan 1 (C208). The transfer back to the Squadron’s original home, AFB Waterkloof, occurred in January 1991. Three Beechcraft King Air 200’s and one King Air 300 were received throughout the mid to late 1990’s during the integration of the various TBVC states. The Pilatus PCXII was received straight from the Pilatus factory in 1997 and completes the current aircraft inventory. The versatility and cost effectiveness of these aircraft mirror the Squadron’s original diverse roles and ensure an all-weather, day/night and internal/external long-range capability.

The early 2000’s brought another dimension to the squadron’s roles when the Air Transport School was formed at 41 Squadron. The School operates under the 41 Squadron mantle as a separate entity and is charged to oversee all flying training within the Transport Directorate. The future planning is that all courses and flying training within the Directorate Air Transport and Maritime Systems will be held under the auspices of the school, which is planned to become a separate FSE in the medium term.

41 Squadron has continued the heritage of being involved in the thick of all operations, having served successfully in all the major humanitarian operations and exercises in many roles throughout the African subcontinent (including Madagascar) in recent years. The original ‘jack of all trades’ image is strongly reflected in the Squadrons ‘can do’ attitude emulated in the current unofficial Squadron motto of “Count On Us”.

The current 41 Squadron Honourary Colonel is:




The following traditions are part of the Squadron identity:


 Battle Honours

EAST AFRICA (1940 - 1941)


MEDITERRANEAN (1942 - 1945)


 Heraldic Description


The 41 Squadron emblem originated during World War II and depicts a white pointer dog in the ‘pointing’ stance on a blood red background mounted on a traditional shield. The Squadron slogan “DETEGIMUS HOSTES” (“We Detect the Enemy”) is printed in white letters on a red ribbon below the shield. The shield and ribbon are both bordered in white.

The red represents the participation in, and the blood shed, during operations executed in defense of our country. The white represents the purity of the loyal service, and dedication, to the RSA by 41 Squadron personnel. The pointer dog is representative of the absolute loyalty, dedication to duty, perseverance under difficult circumstances and courage shown by all 41 Squadron personnel. The ‘pointing’ stance represents the inherent readiness and alertness for any task. These attributes are supported by the Squadron’s unofficial motto of “COUNT ON US”.


 War Diary 2004

41 Squadron was actively involved in various operations throughout 2004 where the aircraft were utilised in most of our roles. This included a total of 15 International Flights into the African sub-continent, 15 casualty evacuation flights that included one to Madagascar, 5 air shows and various IP and VIP flights internally. A maritime reconnaissance sortie was also flown in assisting 35 Squadron and the SA Navy in Cape Town.

The international destinations included the following:

  • 3 Sorties to Mahajanga and Antananarivo (Madagascar).

  • 4 Sorties to Maseru (Lesotho)

  • 1 Sortie to Nacala (Mozambique)

  • 3 Sorties to Burundi (2 via Entebbe, Uganda)

  • 1 Sortie to Harare (Zimbabwe)

  • 1 Sortie to Kinshasa (DRC)

  • 2 Sorties to Gaberone (Botswana)

  • 1 Sortie to Walvis Bay (Namibia)

The Squadron took part in the Presidential Inauguration and 10 years of Democracy fly-pasts as well as many other notable parades in the Pretoria area. C208 Air Displays were given at the following Air Shows throughout the country:

  • SAAFA Tempe Warbird Extravaganza 2-3 July 2004.

  • The Klerksdorp Airshow 12-26 August 2004.

  • The Roodewal Airpower Demonstration 25-26 August 2004.

  • AAD 2004 AFB Waterkloof 21-25 September 2004.

  • The Port Elizabeth Airshow 28-31 October 2004.

The Squadron had active roles in the following operations and exercises:

  • Operation Intexo.

  • Exercise Dragon.

  • Operation Ukunsindisa Disaster Relief (Madagascar).

  • Exercise Medflag.

  • Exercise Golden Eagle.

  • Exercise Seboka.

Squadron flying operations were moved to AFB Swartkop from April to October 2004 in order to facilitate the completion of the upgrading of the operational areas of AFB Waterkloof before AAD in September 2004. Work in progress on the runways, taxiways and compass swing bay as well as the laying of new roads and pipelines constituted a major flight safety risk. Squadron administration and logistic support continued from AFB Waterkloof. Although the split in the operations was extremely challenging, the squadron managed to maintain a record high workload. The restrictions in recovering aircraft to AFB Waterkloof for servicing caused a low serviceability level that will result in low mission readiness until June 2005.

41 Squadron flew a total of 4514.7 hours from 01 January to 31 December 2004, maintaining an average of 9.4 mission ready aircraft every day (59%). The shortage of air and ground crews required meticulous planning and scheduling in order to attain the high figures. The following graph depicts the total hours flown per aircraft type for each month.


 Contact Details

Physical Address :
41 Squadron
AFB Waterkloof

Postal Address :
41 Squadron
Private Bag X1001

Telephone Number :(012) 672 3122 / 3279
Facsimile :
012 672 3266

Where we are:


 Aircraft in service

 click on the photos to enlarge


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