Getting into flight simulators can be daunting. There are a cornucopia of settings, key combinations, and aviation knowledge that is needed to really get the most out of a simulator. Sometimes those things are required even just to get into the air.
The nice thing about World War I and, to a slightly lesser degree, World War II aircraft is their simplicity. There are no targeting computers or radar controlled gunsights that need to be managed. You don’t need to know the ECM burn through rate on your radar guided missile. Things a little more visceral… or in other words: What you see is what you get.
Still, it is a challenging process getting started with a new sim.
I like to spend some time getting to know the controls and flying quick missions. A quick mission is a great way to, without a lot investment, get to know planes and just generally have a fun time doing silly things and crashing into stuff. Take it more seriously later.
OK fine, but I want to know how to do something
When you really need to get to know how to do things from setting fuel mixtures to dropping bombs, you need training materials. This is where a beautiful thing happens.
The flight sim community is filled with people who have a fantastic amount of knowledge. Some are a kind of book smart academics with plenty of PC simulator experience and some are actual pilots. These people know everything from combat specifics to general aviation knowledge and many are happy to help on the forums. Others, take things a step further by producing entire lineups of YouTube training videos.
Rise of Flight Training
I’ve been watching two series while I get to know Rise of Flight. Waggaz’ Wings has a great series of videos of which Episode #12 is (counter intuitively) essential for newbies trying to get started.
If that isn’t enough, RFC Requiem has a great series of intro videos and videos focused on air combat techniques.
For IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad/Battle of Moscow
Requiem also started a new channel for the IL-2 series called The Air Combat Tutorial Library and it has some great series. I recently watched this one on the Pe-2 and level bombing which is something that has thus far eluded me.
There are more videos out there but some of these should help if you want to get started with either IL-2 or Rise of Flight.