The AI in the game actually gives "stick and rudder" commands to each of the planes it controls. You can see the ailerons, elevators, and rudders move realistically.
1942: The Pacific Space War
comes with a Pilot Handbook which, in turn, contains a magnificent historical overview of World War II.
Technically, it is NOT necessary for you to fly the planes personally. The game has a full strategic engine that can simulate all conflicts. You could just click on the carrier(s) and issue orders like arm for strike and things like that. Information also contributed by