I decided in the last few weeks that it was time to scrap the joystick and learn to fly mouse and keyboard. I can already tell how much more precise on can be with a mouse and keyboard, though it clearly has a steeper learning curve because it seems a little less intuitive. It will definitely require more practice to be viable in combat.
Last night, I decided to focus on flying, which can be hard to do on live servers, because with only one chopper per team on only select maps, it is a battle over who gets the chopper sometimes. When the chopper is available, it is often because no one wants to fly against the dominating pilot on the other side. I tried getting no one of those "learn to fly" servers with a light population, thinking it would be a chance to practice with a few live targets. Unfortunately, it was a trap. The other team was stacked by the clan hosting the server, and their chopper would TV missile you on takeoff. You can't learn much if you cannot actually fly. Ironic thing is, right after the took me out with a TV missile at spawn, the same person warned the jet on my team not to base rape. After leaving that one, I did manage to find some servers that offered a better chance, as I was able to get a few hits on target before an Igla took me out. I'll keep trying...it's too fun in those hoppers to stop.