Dr. F. Robert van der Linden is the Chairman of the Aeronautics Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. He is also Curator of Air Transportation and Special Purpose Aircraft. He is the responsible curator for the Milestones of Flight gallery, the Hall of Air Transportation and the Golden Age of Flight gallery. He is also the lead curator for the award-winning America by Air gallery.
In 1991, the University of Washington published his first book entitled The Boeing 247: The First Modern Airliner. In 1992, he contributed three airline industry articles for the Encyclopedia of American Biography: Aviation, and in 1995 produced a chapter on the creation of the U.S. airline industry that was published in From Airships to Airbus: The History of Civil and Commercial Aviation, Volume 2 — Pioneers and Operations. In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the first solo flight across the Atlantic, he co-authored Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis with Dominick A. Pisano for Harry N. Abrams, Inc. In 2002, the University Press of Kentucky published his book Airlines and Air Mail: The Post Office and the Birth of the Commercial Aviation Industry. He co-authored 100 Years of Flight: A Chronicle of Aerospace History, 1903-2003, in 2003. In 2006, he co-authored Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1, and edited The Best of NASM. Most recently, in 2011, he completed a revised version of an earlier work entitled The Nation’s Hangar: Aircraft Treasures of the Smithsonian.
Dr. van der Linden was born in Washington, DC. He holds a BA degree in History from the University of Denver, and an MA and PhD in Modern American, Business, and Military History from The George Washington University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta history honor society, and the Society for the History of Technology. He has been with the Smithsonian since 1977. Dr. van der Linden and his wife Sue reside in Washington, DC with their daughter Rachael.