There is another control you may find useful, called "padlock view". It locks your view to the currently selected target. TrackIR is still better, of course, but if you don't have it padlock view can be very helpful. I forgot what is the default key for that, but you should be able to find it under control options in the game itself.
Haven't tried flying with an xbox controller myself, I use a HOTAS stick, but there are a lot of mouse fliers out there so if you don't have a joystick I recommend giving the mouse/keyboard combination a go. From personal experience, while the HOTAS is better at some things (having a hardware throttle is brilliant, and the thing is just immersive), aiming is easiest with the mouse. Don't be afraid to start on the easy difficulty, though - it has autoaim which can help you a lot until you get used to the controls.