LABACE Grew In 2011
By all accounts the Latin American Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (LABACE) was a major success with more exhibitors, more static aircraft and more delegates than the 2010 edition. Officials said up to 160 exhibitors and more than 60 aircraft were on view to a crowd that may have reached 16,000. Certainly, all the major players were in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from Aug. 10-13 in force, selling their wares in the backyard of Embraer, the emerging giant in the bizjet industry. Gulfstream took its G150, G450 and G550 to the show while Cessna focused on its new CJ4 and announced the delivery of its 32nd Caravan to the Brazilian air force. Perhaps signaling a return to production of the Eclipse 500, Eclipse Aerospace announced it was pursuing type certification in Brazil for its Total Eclipse, the fully developed version of the very light jet that dominated the business aviation news for much of the last decade before the predecessor company, Eclipse Aviation, went into bankruptcy.
Of course, Embraer was there and announced it planned to begin flight testing of the Legacy 500 mid-sized business jet by the end of the year. The first aircraft is nearing completion at the Embraer plant and the company had a mockup of the fly-by-wire jet at Sao Paulo. It also had Phenom 100 and 300 aircraft on display and a Legacy 650. Airbus touted its A318 business jet variant and Hawker Beechcraft showed seven aircraft.