In 2004, Pete Barnes carried out a daring rescue of a motorist from a flooded ford in County Durham while working for the Great North Air Ambulance.
The paramedic who flew with him on that mission said he was one of the best pilots he had ever flown with.
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.