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 52s and
Mk 55s, 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was withdrawn from service in 1980 and was replaced by Impala Mk II aircraft.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
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.