It's just the realism of freespace. Personally i think the x-wing series has a seriously unrealistic view in terms of flight dynamics, because your able too stop and turn instantly with little if any acceleration or deceleration. The actual mechanics in space (or in flying anything, for that matter) require a second or two (depending on the turning speed of the craft) to change direction for steering, this is caused by the inertia of the craft, I think. I noticed this too when i first started playing, but you'll get used to it eventually. Personally, i find it easier to aim with this realism now.
Nah, it's not that. It's no use to talk about realism and FS2 flight dynamics in the same sentence anyway...
It's the fact that the sensitivity curve of the stick is pretty much linear and by default non-adjustable, which means that the area near the deadzone - required for important small corrections - is difficult to use. It's very possibly to use with a lot of practice and a good joystick with small deadzone.
Adjusting the sensitivity and deadzone on the controls settings has little to no effect on the actual sensitivity curve of the stick; rather the so called "sensitivity" just adds filtering to the signal, which masks the small rapid changes in the signal and makes the controls more sluggish - granted, easier to not overshoot, but also more difficult to use accurately. Deadzone should be adjusted to as small as possible so that when you take your hand off the stick, the ship doesn't veer off direction; sensitivity should be set to as high as possible to get the control signal to the game as fast as possible IMHO - then just get used to making corrections small enough.
Some sticks have in-built non-linear response curve, which means that an arbitrary move of the stick near the center area results in smaller feedback than similar movement of the handle near the edges, which should result in better control regarding the small corrections needed for aiming. AFAIK, Saitek X52 is one of these sticks - can anyone who have this kind of controller confirm this?
If you have a profiler that can change the signal response curve that the driver sends to DirectX, you should be able to set up a non-linear axis control for at least pitch and yaw... and roll if you like.