Before the national ban was lifted, some of the only things flying were air ambulances. Brandy Grillet with Mercy Medical Center’s Life Flight in Des Moines says right after the attack in New York and Washington, the helicopters had to get permission to fly.

On Tuesday the ‘copter was out on a flight when the order to ground all flights came, so the pilot called the local control tower and got permission to finish the trip. Grillet explains the Life Flight chopper goes out when there’s a need for fast transport.

About 70 percent of air ambulance trips in Iowa take a patient from one hospital to another. The rest are “scene calls” where the Life Flight helicopter goes right to the scene of an accident or medical emergency.

Grillet says when the chopper did make air-ambulance trips, some people phoned authorities to report a violation of the flying ban.The Life Flight on loan from Colorado is bright orange with a stripe, like a Nike Swoosh, so people don’t think it’s a rescue ‘copter. Grillet says no flights had to be canceled for lack of emergency clearance.