One Area that I always check on Private and Commercial helicopter rides is Confined Area Operations. There are several techniques that work well but the goal of this rant is to point out the troubles I see repeatedly and to make one suggestion.
The number one error that most pilots make is rushing this maneuver. For example flying the high recon at normal cruise airspeed. SLOW DOWN! Depending on the helicopter a good speed is around 50 knots during the high recon. Another problem with the high recon is flying a pattern that is way to tight! Widen out the pattern and take a look around the helicopter. Don't just look at the spot you want to land! Third and Fourth error starting the approach with a high airspeed and a very tight pattern. Again, slow down! It's very important we don't get rushed at this point, if you do, you'll have a crappy approach all the way in. Think of your way in to the confined area. Too often I see very tight patterns and very short final approaches into the confined area. Fifth error. Flying the approach too steep and too fast. This is a great way to get into a settling with power situation. The approach should be stablized at an angle that will safely clear obsticals at an airspeed just above ETL. If you are not set up correctly or don't feel right, go around! Please!
The suggestion: One thing I got into a habit of is at then end of my low recon is doing a go-around. This is a planned go-around. The purpose is two fold. One is to fly my takeoff path to make sure its safe, and second it's also where I do my power check to insure I have enough power to depart safely. After the planned go-around, if I'm happy with everything, I'll come back around and fly the real approach into the area.