AFB Ysterplaat Timeline


1941 – 1945















































Brooklyn Air Station established on 24 October.


Hangers, buildings, railway siding, fuel installations and

three runways constructed.


The first aircraft that landed on the newly constructed

airfield was an Avro Anson.


First batch of aircraft assembled took off for flight tests

on 19 January.


9 Air Depot, with WAAF members and RAF personnel, moved from Wingfield to Brooklyn on 20 January.


Wireless station with transmitting and receiving buildings constructed.


Camp facilities for Womens Auxiliary Air Force constructed.


The first Baltimore and Kittyhawks arrived from the docks.


6 Squadron relocated to Brooklyn in November.


Cape Fortress wireless transmitter station also relocated.


In March the 15 ferry and test pilots flew 1097 hours, ferrying and testing their quota of the 85 aircraft constructed.


Aircraft assembled: Anson, Oxford, Miles Master, Bristol Beaufort, Fairey Battle, Martin Baltimore, Dominie,

Kittyhawk, Maryland, Harvard, Hurricanes.


Brooklyn Air Station handled up to 94 visiting aircraft, excluding training aircraft, in one month.


3 AD took over from 9 AD on 31 March. 11 AD continued as

an independent sub unit.


The newly acquired Avro York for the use of Prime Minister Field Marshall Jan Smuts arrived at AFS Brooklyn.


The end of WWII with VE Day parade on 8 May.



1946 – 1959














































300 Harvards crated at Brooklyn and shipped to the UK.


The first test flight of a Meteor III with pilot, Capt Meaker.


Venturas escorted the HMS Vanguard with the Royal family

on board.


17 Squadron was officially opened with Major Stanford as OC.


RAF Commodore Atcherly and jet specialists arrive to

prepare pilots for the Vampires.


Members selected to relief SAAF Squadron operating on the Berlin airlift.


Eleven pilots from Ysterplaat selected to join UN in Korea.


7 and 27 Active Citizen Force Squadrons was established.


Navigators School established with Major H.J.P. Burger, OC.


22 Squadron reformed at Ysterplaat under Major H.E. Kirby.


The last of 77 Vampires assembled.


First auto-rotation on the Sikorsky helicopter was done by Major Tatham and witnessed by the Media.


Three Sikorsky helicopters assembled.


AFS Ysterplaat was equipped with 15 Ventura, 3 Harvard and 1 Dakota aircraft. The Dakota was used in the air bridge between Cape Town and Cairo.


22 Squadrons’ disbandment coincided with the arrival of 35 Squadron, newly equipped with Avro Shackletons.


Shackletons and Venturas took part in combined exercises with the SA Navy and British Navy.


Ysterplaat hosted an Air Show in November featuring a Comet, Sabre, Shackleton, Devons, Dakotas and helicopters.



1960 – 1967











































Air Show highlights – rocket installations of the Alouette II on display; a Sabre broke the sound barrier over Cape Town.


27 Squadron reformed as Coastal Reconnaissance Squadron equipped with Dakota aircraft.


2 Aircraft Maintenance Unit was founded.


Shackleton 1718 crashed into Stettynskloof mountains near Rawsonville and thirteen crew members died.


Air Show – the first Mirage III seen by the Cape Town public.


22 Squadron reformed as 22 Flight with 6 Wasp helicopters.


402 Air Field Maintenance Unit received unit status.


Sikorsky helicopters replaced with Alouette III.


108 Air Force Reserve Squadron established in PE under command of Ysterplaat.


110 Air Force Reserve Squadron established to supply air support to ground troops, commando’s and civilian forces.


35 Squadron assisted crew of a Buccaneer that had to abandon their aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean.


The first landing of a Wasp helicopter on Bouvet Island. Two Wasp helicopters accompanied a survey ship with a team of scientists to the island.


17 Squadron crews rescued 76 people from the SA Seafarer.


Wasp 82 crashed in the sea off Milnerton during an exercise and the crew was rescued. The Wasp was re-floated after a few hours and rebuilt.


The Acting State President, Mr. J.F.T. Naudé, presented the Officer’s Commanding of 7, 17, 27 and 35 squadrons with their Squadron’s Colours on 30 October.




1968 – 1972











































The status of Ysterplaat is upgraded from a Station to

Air Force Base.


25 Squadron was reformed as a Dakota medium Transport Squadron under command of Cmdt A.J. Cooney.


16 Squadron was established and equipped with Alouette III helicopters under command of Cmdt G. Thom.


Helicopter Conversion Unit with Alouette II and III helicopters established under command of Major J.M. Oosthuizen.


The Maritime Operational Training Unit, tasked to train flight crew, was established in under command of Cmdt P.S. Marais.


16 Super Frelon helicopters were assembled.


27 Squadron Dakotas was replaced with Piaggio 166S Albatross. Albatross 881 to 889 was assembled.


7 Squadron, a training unit operating Harvard aircraft, moved from Youngsfield to Ysterplaat.


22 Flight flew humanitarian missions to Tulbach residents in September when the town was struck by an earthquake.


22 Flight on stand by with Maritime Task Force in April as the world waits for Apollo 13 to return to earth at alternative sites.


25 Squadron started operational flying tours at Rundu.


A new Decca Navigation System was officially opened by the Minister of Defence, Mr P.W. Botha.


A new Control Tower was constructed.


A memorial service was held in February commemorating the deaths of the crews of three Mercurius aircraft that crashed on Devil’s Peak in May 1971, and the four 22 Flight helicopter crew members who died in a Wasp helicopter accident near

Luanda in November 1971.



1973 – 1980














































Alouette II helicopters were withdrawn from service.


Six Wasp helicopters were assembled. The delivery of the seventh Wasp was cancelled in accordance with a United Nations decision to ban the sale of weapons to South Africa.


22 Flight won the light Aircraft Command’s First Helicopter competition held at AFB Bloemspruit.

Ysterplaat received their first three television sets.


Start of Operation Savannah in SWA (Namibia). In December three Dakotas flew to Windhoek, heralding the moving of 25 Squadron’s bush tours to Grootfontein.

LCpls Martell and Maree of 25 Squadron were the first females to qualify as telecommunications operators and Lt A. Horn is our first female Air Traffic Controller.


22 Flight was restored to full squadron status.


First Dakota sprayed a camouflage colour scheme.


A Super Frelon helicopter set an unofficial record with a non-stop flight from Ysterplaat to Swartkop in November.


The last Harvard took off from Ysterplaat.

SAAF recruited coloured personnel for the first time since World War II.


The Officer’s Club burnt down and the Cambridge Hotel in Milnerton was taken over in 1979 as the Officer’s Mess.

At a parade Cmdt J. Cloete accepted the Colours on behalf of 27 Squadron from the State President, Mr. B.J. Vorster.


35 Squadron awarded the Freedom of the City of Cape Town.

30 Squadron reformed under the command of Cmdt R. Dean and equipped with Pumas and Super Frelon helicopters.




1981 – 1991














































22 and 30 Squadron was involved in flood relief rescue when Laingsburg was worst hit following heavy unseasonable rains.

SAAF 62nd birthday flying displays of a Spitfire, Canberras, Buccaneers, Mirage F1 aircraft, Frelon and Puma helicopters.


27, 30 and 35 Squadrons was dispatched in an extensive search-and rescue operation along with naval vessels following the collision of the SAS President Kruger

and SAS Tafelberg.

AFB Ysterplaat received the SAAF Operational Efficiency Award for Support Sections two years in a row.

Dakota 77 flies for the last time in yellow and black livery.

2 ASU become a depot to extend production capacity.


Shackletons perform a farewell formation over Cape Town.

A Russian Naval Task Force rounds the Cape in September and a Dakota and Albatross shadows the vessels.


505 Security Squadron was established in June.

Return of 30 Squadron personnel and Pumas from SANAE Base in Antarctica after a trip of two and a half months.


Visit by Commander-in-Chief of Republic of China Air Force.


First Dakota maritime paint scheme on display for the media.


Commando members of 110 Squadron died when their Cessna crashed in the mountains near Montagu.

Air Crash simulation in Goodwood involving 400 personnel

of SAA, Eskom, SADF, Civil Aviation and City Tramways.


25 and 27 Squadron amalgamated with 35 Squadron.


Ysterplaat Squadrons took part in the rescue operation of

219 passengers from the stricken Oceanos.



1992 – 2002















































11 Air Depot amalgamated with 2 Air Depot.


Ysterplaat won the Sword of Peace Award for the third consecutive year for exceptional humanitarian service.


A concrete wall was erected around the Base.


Puma helicopters airlifted 40 crew members from Riverplate.

South Africa becomes a fully fledged democracy and AFB Ysterplaat welcomes new members from the former

Non – Statuary Forces.

Museum Shackleton Pelican 1716 crashed in the Western Sahara. All 19 members survive and were rescued.

35 Squadron was re-equipped with C47-TP and the last

operations were flown by the piston engine Dakotas.


The last of 60 Pilatus Astra PC-7 aircraft was assembled.

Helicopters transported containers and supplies for the building of the SANAE IV base in Antarctic.

Oryx helicopters arrive and J-type Pumas phased out.

A Delville Bush Memorial Service was held at

Cape Town Gardens.

22 Squadron helicopters were deployed for fire-fighting in the Boland, Somerset West, Tulbach and Uniondale.


Air Show held in October in conjunction with Thunder City.


The new millennium kicks off with the biggest fires yet and

are followed by floods in Mozambique.


Plans to close down AFB Ysterplaat and move lodger units to Cape Town International Airport abandoned.


Exhibition at Museum commemorating the 60th Anniversary of North African campaign opened by General E. Schmidt.



2003 – 2011














































22 Squadron flight crews awarded for the rescue of 89 people off the ice-bound Magdalena Oldendorff in the Antarctic.


Five members of 35 Squadron were selected for the SANDF Rugby team tour to Holland and Germany.


80 Air Navigation School received the Best Training Unit Prestige Award, Gold.


35 Squadron received the Golden award for the best Permanent Flying Unit and the Aviation Safety Award.


The first new generation Gripen fighter made its public debut in September and on the eve of the African Aerospace and Defence Expo hosted at Ysterplaat.


The Museum Shackleton, 1722, performs its last flight on

29th of March.


The first two Lynx helicopters arrive at Ysterplaat in July.


35 Squadron foils a drug drop by a foreign vessel.


Ysterplaat members involved in UN operations outside our borders in conjunction with SANDF and international forces.


AAD Air Show with 200 exhibitors from 30 countries. Some of the aircraft participating was Gripen, Hawk, Lightning and Hawker Hunter, Rooivalk-, Oryx- and Lynx helicopters.


AFB Ysterplaat was awarded the Freedom of Entry to the

City of Cape Town. The official scroll was handed over to Colonel Cowan on a parade in August 2010.


AFB Ysterplaat was a hive of activity with the FIFA 2010

World Soccer Cup, when the SAAF secured the air space above Cape Town.


The USAF participated in another international AAD Air Show.


Ysterplaat Air Force Base celebrates its 70th birthday.