An amazing photo shows a Royal Navy helicopter balancing on one wheel on a rock in Norway as British troops - members of the Royal Navy's "Commando Helicopter Force" - prepare to be sent to Afghanistan.

The picture shows the immense skill of British military pilots.

Is it ok to park on this rock, sir? Amazing picture of Afghanistan-bound helicopter pilot landing on an ice-covered rock on ONE wheel

8th March 2008
Daily Mail

With consummate skill, a Royal Navy pilot holds his 19-ton Sea King helicopter steady on one wheel, on an ice-covered rock, in the ultimate balancing act of man and machine.

The so-called "pinnacle manoeuvre" is on a precarious 4,000ft mountain ridge near Bardufoss in Norway during intensive training which enables pilots to land their aircraft as easily as most people park a family car.

Touchdown: A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter performs the amazing one-wheel pinnacle landing on a rock

Last week, Sea King and Lynx pilots from the Navy's prestigious Commando Helicopter Force were put through their paces 168 miles inside the Arctic Circle as they prepare for deployment to Afghanistan in two months time.

The wastelands of Norway are perfect for pilots to practise potentially dangerous landings because the snow presents almost identical conditions to those they will face on Afghanistan's front line in Helmand province.

The "pinnacle" begins with the helicopter flying down one side of a valley so it can turn quickly should an enemy attack from the ground. As the commander and pilot in the cockpit carefully lower the craft towards the ground, snow often billows beneath the blades, reducing visibility to zero.

The third crewman opens the rear side door and "talks down" the helicopter inch by inch until one front wheel touches the outcrop of rock.

The crew practise the manoeuvre again and again, forming a close bond of trust as they work as a team, knowing that in a few weeks they will have to use these extraordinary skills to drop off troops on operations, and, more importantly, rescue wounded comrades from the battlefield.

Lieutenant Commander Jim Newton, 35, the Officer Commanding at the remote "Clockwork" base in Norway, said: "If you can operate here at -30C then you can operate anywhere.

"The techniques the aircrew learn are fully transferable to operating in the desert the only thing that changes is the temperature."

Snow storm: A Lynx helicopter picks up British troops- members of the Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Force - on manoeuvres in Norway