VH-FBA (1) ntu    National NA-75                               (c/n  75-4319)


                                     This rare photo from the Merv Prime collection (via Geoff Goodall) shows one of several of these
                                     Boeing Stearman PT-17 conversions sporting the more powerful 450 hp P&W engines which were
                                     brought into Australia in 1957.  This one was ex N63267.  The craft had a new high lift wing design
                                     with end plates on both planes.  This was designed to bring the stall speed down to 35 mph with a
                                     load of 500 lbs up.         Another innovation was moving cockpit instrumentation to the upper wing
                                     trailing edge above the pilot.   VH-FBA had been imported by Crop Care Pty Ltd, Sydney, a new
                                     company formed in 1957 by Crop Care Inc of Sacramento, California and assembled at Bankstown.
                                     The company's press release at the time said they would import five NA-75s to operate in Australia.
                                     VH-FBA was never formally registered, although DCA allowed it to be demonstrated in northern
                                     NSW as an agricultural machine. A second NA-75 can be seen under assembly in the hangar behind,
                                     almost certainly VH-CCI (75-206 ex N63495) which was registered in November 1957 but cancelled
                                     only three days later when the Stearmans were packed up and shipped back to the States after a dispute
                                     with DCA over a ruling restricting their agricultural payload which would have made them uneconomic.