The two men inside make final checks before maneuvering the aircraft toward the runway.
After just a few minutes they get the “all clear,” and the plane begins its short trip down the concrete stretch, gathering speed before the nose lifts off the ground.
For the Rev. Mel Hemann this flight is like many others, but for his co-pilot, Jacek Rejman, it’s like very few he’s flown.
Hemann, 74, is one of the founding members of the National Association of Flying Priests. He’s been making flights like this one to St. Louis for years, ferrying members of the clergy and himself to meetings and conventions across the state or country.
“I was stationed in Dubuque for a while, and as a rule of thumb anything west of Waterloo and I would fly (there),” Hemann said. “If you look at the priests as the CEO of a business, from a business point of view, it just makes sense. Time is money.”