Viva La LABACE

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The Latin American Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (LABACE) made a comeback late last week after the 2006 event was canceled due to airport construction at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Like the previous three LABACE shows, this year's three-day event was held in Sao Paulo and jointly organized by the U.S. National Business Aviation Association and Associacao Brasileira de Aviacao Geral (ABAG). According to the two groups, a record 33 business airplanes and helicopters were on display at the static area, and 69 Brazilian and foreign exhibitors showed off their wares in the exhibit hall. Aircraft at the static display ranged from a Cirrus SR22 piston single to larger jets such as the Gulfstream G550. At least 4,000 visitors -- mostly business aviation industry professionals -- were expected to attend, though no official attendance number is yet available. In 2005, nearly 5,000 people attended the event. The star of the show was Brazil's homegrown very light jet, the Phenom 100, which made its public debut on Saturday at LABACE less than two weeks after achieving first flight. LABACE 2008 is tentatively set to be held next August in Sao Paulo.