Jolyon Palmer, a racing car driver who competes in the Formula One feeder GP2 series, said Mr Barnes saved his life in 2007.
He tweeted: "Helicopter pilot Pete Barnes helped save my life in 2007 after I had a serious quad bike accident. Extremely sad news today."
UK HEMS, the charitable collaboration of UK helicopter air ambulance services, said Mr Barnes was a hugely skilled pilot.
The organisation tweeted: "Thoughts are with family and friends of Capt. Pete Barnes. A hugely skilled and experienced former HEMS pilot."
The pilot of the helicopter which crashed had thousands of hours of flying experience including for films such as Die Another Day.
The crane operator only survived the Vauxhall helicopter crash because he was running late and had not reached his cabin.
Air investigators will seek answers to a series of key questions as they begin their inquiry into the London helicopter crash today.