When Gore Design Completions (GDC) began welcoming visitors to its NBAA ’02 exhibit (Booth No. 1101), its presence was applauded by aviation icon Dee Howard (whose many accomplishments include designing the first thrust reversers for the Learjet). Howard complimented his one-time employees Jerry and Kathy Gore on the quality of GDC’s conversion details and the speed with which they can accomplish it, as demonstrated by their delivery of the Central Asian Head of State Boeing 767-200 extended range aircraft only six months after conversion started.
Jerry Gore noted his company designed the aircraft to accommodate a “Presidential” suite of rooms and office, an executive-style guest seating area, staff seating, plus an electronic communications room and crew lounge. He added that the completion (performed at the GDC facility in San Antonio, which includes a 100,000-sq-ft hangar) also included installing state-of-the-art systems such as Internet access.
To meet the tight self-set deadline, Jerry told NBAA Convention News, “We established a six-month lead time. We determined what the design would look like and had everything ready to install when conversion work began.” The conversion was almost complete, he recalled, when the customer decided to change an entire section, but GDC still managed to meet its goal of having the 767 ready to turn over after six months. By cutting delivery time well below the typical 10- to 18-month time span, he said, he estimates the customer saved on the order $3 million in interest payments. Dee Howard commented that despite the very fast turnaround, GDC didn’t cut back on quality. “When I was involved in conversions, we prided ourselves on doing a very high- quality job, but the GDC workmanship is even better.”
“Kathy and I invested a lot of money and decided we would not be a design center, but a completion center,” Jerry said. “But we kind of decided to return to the old ways of doing things where we wanted everything to be done properly.” The idea was to achieve high quality, but do it efficiently by using new technology.
Having just completed the 767 project, GDC is looking for its next projects. Jerry told NBAA Convention News, “We’re bidding on three projects. I’m sure we’re going to get some, because no one can get them out as fast as we can.”
As for Dee Howard, he remains active, though not in aviation. He now is president of River City Products of San Antonio, which has developed the Howard Precison Steer Wheel Control System. He said the concept could have a revolutionary impact on the operation of heavy vehicles like trucks and buses. The approach, he told NBAA Convention News, can save at least 50 percent and possibly as much as 70 percent on the front tire wear of such vehicles.