Dryden, born in 1898, was 12 before he saw an airplane. It was a 40 mile per hour, 50 horsepower Antoinette monoplane, and rather than awed he was unimpressed with its performance. An airship, he thought, was a more worthwhile technology than an aeroplane, particularly where passenger and cargo transfer was concerned. He explored these thoughts in the days that followed, pulling them together in an an English composition called "The Advantages of an Airship over an Aeroplane.” His teacher gave it an F. Two years later, when he was just 14, he enrolled at Johns Hopkins University. He left with a PhD in physics and mathematics in 1919.