When you're reading a message board and all you find yourself thinking is, "What a bunch of wankers!" ... it's time to stop reading that message board.
After poking around a bit, I found and utilized a cheat code that unlocks a level called "Endurance," which is essentially you flying solo in an X-Wing fighting waves and waves and waves of TIE fighters and interceptors, forever until you die. As narrative gameplay, a bit ho-hum ... but one thing it has going for it is that it makes great dogfighting practice.
The dorky thing about it, is that instead of being a trainer (a la the ubiquitous "flight sim video game" in Wing Commander), this level is a reward you can "buy" after having knocked yourself out to win something like seven medals. Oy!
I think that my core problems with the game boil down to two things, which are control wonkiness and spatial awareness. Besides the fact that the radar is tiny, I find it incredibly counter-intuitive. Everything is always above and behind me -- so I turn around and pull up, only to have it still be above and behind me. Que? The game doesn't have rudder controls to speak of, so in order to keep your bank turns from getting you all spun around all the time, it tries to auto-level you ... which means you pull to the right and suddenly find yourself careening around in this weird wobbly dance. Trying to do a loop-de-loop -- don't even bother.
As for spatial awareness, this problem is caused by the fact that you can only see your forward arc. If you were sitting in an actual cockpit and TIE fighters cut across your field of vision, you could track them with your head and instinctively turn your ship to follow. And while the game does theoretically include a "turn your head" control, it's on the opposite Y- axis to your joystick. So if you want to track something to the right, you've got to pull your viewpoint left. >.<
I dunno ... maybe with a proper full-sized joystick, decent rudder controls, and a POV-hat type button, I'd be doing better at this. But as far as I can find, there ain't no such animal for the Gamecube that doesn't cost $100+ and come from Australia (see also "Thrustmaster Flight Stick").