Unit History: Air Navigation School

Air Navigation School
The aerodrome was officially proclaimed in the Government Gazette dated 5 April 1946. Although the base was originally developed to counter the German/Japanese submarine threat, its first role was a training unit. On 1 August 1946 the name of the station was changed to the "Bomber Gunnery and Air Navigation School"(BG & ANS) The first aircraft a Anson landed at the base during February 1946.
The BG & ANS was renamed Air Force Station Langebaanweg on 14 April 1947 and the BG & ANS became a unit on the station. In the same year the first Harvard and Ventura aircraft arrived.
The first Spitfires arrived at Langebaanweg during 1948. During the period 1950 to 1953 the pilots who went to Korea with 2 Squadron were trained on Spitfires before they left.
The first Vampires (first jet aircraft in the SAAF) arrived in October 1952 and the Air Operational School (AOS) and Air Navigation School was founded. From then on until 1967 advanced flying training was done on Harvards and Vampires. The Air Navigation School moved to Ysterplaat in 1953.
On 1 December 1957, 17 Squadron (previously an MR squadron with Venturas), was reformed at Langebaanweg as the SAAF"s first helicopter squadron, with two S-55 and one S51 Sikorsky helicopters. In July 1961 17 Squadron with the new Allouette 2 helicopters moved to Ysterplaat.
The first Impala aircraft landed at the base on 11 May 1966. On 2 October 1967 AOS and the Vampires were transferred to AFB Pietersburg. AFS Langebaanweg name changed to Flying Training School Langebaanweg in February 1968.
Since 1980 only the pupil pilots that were chosen for the fighter line were sent to FTS Langebaanweg for the second half of their wings course.
On 28 March 1983 FTS Langebaanweg was renamed Air Force Base Langebaanweg.
On 1 January 1982 Air Navigation School (now known as 80 Air Navigation School – 80 ANS), was transferred from AFB Ysterplaat back to AFB Langebaanweg, after nearly thirty years.

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