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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Plane Perfect

Plane Perfect
Kathy GoreWhen Kathy Gore got her degree from the college in 1976 in textiles, clothing and fashion design, she had no grand vision of creating the interiors of airplanes for kings and billionaires.

She first worked as the manager of a clothing store, before briefly doing residential interior design. In 1983, she was hired by the Fairchild Aircraft Company to help design the interiors of their small turboprop jets. Gore worked as a designer for two more companies, acquiring more expertise, before she and a fellow designer launched Gore Design in San Antonio in 1988.

“We went along hand-to-mouth for a long time,” says Gore. “That was about the time that Boeing designed their business jet, the 737 BBJ, and we started getting design work on those.”

Their big break came in 2000, when the government of China asked them not only to design the interior of their new 767 head-of-state jet, but to do the installation and completion of the interior as well.

“We had a bit of experience with completions,” says Gore, “but not much. But we rented hangar space and delivered that 767 in August 2001. That was the start of when we really became successful.”

Gore Design became Gore Design Completions, which now employs more than 400 people. The company has completed the interiors of numerous 737s, a few more of the massive 767s (which can cost more than $110 million to build and complete), an Airbus 340, and various other smaller planes. Clients have included multinational corporations, billionaires, and the presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

The planes themselves are lavish, with gold-plated fixtures in the bathrooms, exquisitely soft leather furniture, hardwood floors, and paintings and tapestries on the wall. They’re also practical. A typical presidential 767, for instance, might divide its roughly 2,000 square feet of living space between private quarters for the president, a conference room, area for the staff, bathrooms, a lounge and an office.

For Gore, who now serves on the College of Natural Sciences advisory council, the excitement of creating these interiors is supplemented by the opportunities to travel the world. “I never would have even imagined visiting some of these places,” she says. “It’s amazing. I still love coming back to UT, though.”
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Friday, 03 February 2023

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