I can fly my Aeronca Champ and my Slow Stick in the yard just fine. Since then I have crashed two aircraft on their maiden flights and am really disapointed between the way I can fly in the SIM and can't fly worth siccum for real. Crashed my T-28 on it's maiden. Built a 3D 'Bouncer' and got it off the ground and then everything went South relatively fast. I'm so upset with it all I haven't turned the SIM on in weeks as even though I can fly the 3D models there, without crashing unless I am doing stupid, and can land and take off the T-28 easily, it doesn't seem to translate to the real world. Have even learned knife edge and inverted flying with the SIM and can Harrier for about 10 seconds. Can see it's value there, but if what happens in the SIM does not prepare you for the real world...why have one?
Got the Trojan repaired and ready to fly. It won't be in the air unless I drive 50 miles to a club and can find a 'real' pilot to check it out. The 'Bouncer' will take about an hour to repair and it too will hang on the wall until I can take it to a real pilot.
On an upnote, the Bouncer is tough as can be. Nosed it in from about 30 feet and made a couple of small breaks but didn't even break the prop. Might want to look at the way they mount the engine. The engine is mounted to a solid piece of plywood and that plywood is held to the front of the airplane with "O" rings. The "O" rings break or come loose on a significant impact. It saved it on this first crash. jim
Sorry to hear about the crashes, hang in there it will get better especially if you can find an experienced pilot to help you get over the hump.
I use Real Flight, so I can not give you too much specific info on Phoenix, but I have heard it is a good product.
Take a look at your sim settings and crank them up to make the aircraft as realistic (difficult) as possible. The default setting are probably too easy. If there is a setting that will periodically throw in a component failure , turn that on.Also it sounds like you are flying the more advanced aircraft in the sim, if that is correct keep it up. If you have not done it, add in some winds to your sim flights.
The sims tend to give you a correctly set up plane, it may help to have some else take a look to make sure you are not missing something as you are planning to do. Adding the ailerons will also tend to heighten the "pucker factor" above the usual sim to real level.
Good luck, let us hear how you are doing.
Unfortunately hardly anyone ever panics when something goes wrong in the sim...they just keep on trying to get it back. And no-one counts the number of times they failed to get it back, they just press the "Repair it for me and we'll try again" button .
Conversely out in the real world almost every panics a bit when something goes wrong. And it only takes one fail to recover to make you feel bad....there being no "Repair it for me" button in the real world.
Getting an experienced pilot to test fly and trim your planes is an excellent idea. The planes in the sims are always straight, unwarped and set up correctly and it can make a real difference.
Be sure to change the weather on the simulator. Increase the wind and include variables. Don't fly with it dead calm on the simulator because it really isn't ever dead calm in the real world. Also check the thrust on the simulator. I used the sim to practice for my habu. Sim, everthing was great tons of thrust. Real world, not as fast not as much thrust. Had to reduce the thrust in the sim to get it to fly the same.
I use FMS, and consider it to be good training for my reflexes and orientation. Also, it is nice to have around for a little entertainment when I can't fly my planes. That's pretty much all; real world conditions are more challenging.