1942: The Pacific Air War is a flight simulation set in World War II, more specifically the Pacific War between Japan and the United States.
The focus is on the realistic simulation of the ten aircraft. This means for instance that there is no indicator for ammo. The game features several missions which can be either played independently from each other or in two campaigns for the United States or Japan. The goals are mostly to liberate an area, to defend an area or to destroy a specific target.
The special feature of this game is that it also can be played as a strategy game. On an overhead map, the player gets presented with the position of all aircraft and they can order their troops around. The player can take control over any aircraft they wish to and switch between both modes instantly. They can also record their performance and cut small movies with different camera angles out of them.
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.