Former Metro FM and GNR Traffic Pilot killed in Vauxhall Chopper accident

Former Metro FM and Great North Radio personality named as pilot killed in crash.

“We’ve got Marky Mark now, but Pete was the pioneer… He was a stylish lovely guy. He genuinely could have auditioned for James Bond, he was handsome, the girls melted.” – Metro Radio presenter, Alan Robson, speaking to the radio station’s Metro News

Pete Barnes who pioneered the ‘eye in the sky’ traffic reports for Metro Radio and Great North Radio has been named as the pilot who has died in the Vauxhall London helicopter crash.

The 50-year-old launched the Metro/GNR Sky Runner helicopter traffic reports, later re-branded Starburst One, in the 1990s proving live reports direct from the chopper to listeners on both Metro, GNR and later GNR’s replacement, Magic Radio North East. The service was one of the first in the UK to use a format which had previously only been used in the USA.

(Pictured above the ‘Sky Runner’ chopper in 1994).

Barnes was killed following a collision with a crane and his helicopter this morning in London. It is reported he had been trying to land at a nearby helipad due to oncoming bad weather.

Metro note that ‘Peter was well known in the North East for his work as the “Commander” of Starburst One, bringing up to the minute bird’s eye view updates on the traffic jams for commuters across the North East.’

Other media work including piloting choppers in blockbuster movies such as Tomb Raider II, James Bond and Saving Private Ryan and for Tyne Tees Television he featured in the Metro Sky Runner as part of Alan Robson’s ‘people show’ Robson’s Place in the mid-1990s.

He left the radio network in 1997 and had been operating as a freelance pilot for an executive helicopter charter business. He also had a spell with the Great North Air Ambulance which lead to Pete being praised as a hero after rescuing a driver from a County Durham ford in 2004.

“All the staff and presenters at Metro Radio are deeply sorry to hear about the tragic loss of our former traffic and travel helicopter pilot, Peter Barnes, today. The station staff I have spoken to today who worked with him had nothing but positive comments to make about his warm personality and talent as a pilot. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and close friends at this difficult time.” – Metro Radio Managing Director Cath Ellington

The incident also claimed the life of one person on the ground at the time of the accident and up to twelve have been injured.

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