HAWX I have to admit was pretty horrible and has no feeling of flight. Ace Combat 6 is REALLY good for that considering it's still an arcade game. I love just flying around in the free flight mode sometimes. Still IL-2 is the best... it is hardcore but with the settings you can easily turn off the hard bits and just have fun.
However, I'd like to say that you should always keep the stalls and spins as well as advanced engine management activated. It's half of the flying to not get into sticky situations and the rest is getting out of them alive. Deactivating realistic gunnery is probably the biggest difficulty increment, as is keeping engine overheating off.
Going into a perpetual backflip with a P-38 or F-86 is a horrible feeling, as you let your airspeed get too low in a vertical turn and the plane just lurches down, falling out of the sky... and getting out of that one takes a lot of altitude. Even normal spins are pretty hard to get out without letting it develope into a flat spin.