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Glen A. Gilbert (1913-1982), pilot, administrator and aviation consultant, played a key role in the development of the United States and international Air Traffic Control (ATC) System. Following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin, Gilbert went to work in commercial aviation, including periods at Northwest Airways (communications installation and operations, flight operations, (1931-34)), and American Airlines (Communications Supervisor, 1934-36). During this period he helped develop and operate collision-avoidance procedures for aircraft operating under instrument conditions until this service was taken over buy the federal government. Gilbert became the first Director of the United States ATC System (Chief, Airway Traffic Control Section, 1936-40; Chief ATC Division, 1940-46) during which time he represented the United States at a number of international conferences on aviation and played a key role in the formation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1944. He then became Special Assistant to the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics (1946-1951), where he continued his involvement with international aviation issues, often under commission for the President or Secretary of State. In 1951, Gilbert became an aviation expert for ICAO (1951-57) and later founded Glen Gilbert and Associates (1957), an aviation consulting firm. Gilbert co-authored 28 patent claims for airborne and ground equipment to improve ATC safety and efficiency and wrote a number of books and articles on the subject.



Processing Information

The finding aid for this collection is the contents page(s) for each of the seven bound volumes of Gilbert's papers Encoded by Tyler Love, 2013


Gilbert, Glen Alexander, 1913-1982




Gordon Gilbert, gift, 1984, XXXX-0187, Unknown


1.82 Cubic feet (4 document boxes; 1 slim document box)


This collection consists of a seven volume set representing a partial documentation of Gilbert's contribution to ATC development. The material was compiled by Gilbert's wife after his death in 1982. The collection also includes two books by Gilbert on air traffic control.


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Collection descriptions

Archival materials


Arrangement note

This collection is arranged in Volume order.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains seven bound volumes of Gilbert's written work. The volumes document Gilbert's contribution to ATC development from 1935 to 1982. The material was compiled by Gilbert's wife after his death in 1982. The collection also includes the following books: Air Traffic Control, Glen A. Gilbert, Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1945 Air Traffic Control: the Uncrowded Sky, Glen A. Gilbert, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC 1973 IEEE Transactions on Communications Special Issue on Aeronautical Communications, May 1978, ed. Sherman Karp, George G. Haroules & Leslie Klein, May 1973




Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.


Gilbert, Glen Alexander, 1913-1982

Topics Air traffic control
Airplanes -- Collision avoidance
Radar air traffic control systems


Glen A. Gilbert Collection, Acc. XXXX-0187, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives