I found that my real world skills transferred quite well to flight sims, especially how to land.
This is one of the most enlightening things about learning to fly! In sims I have become rather infamous in my unique landings, having mastered the ground loop to a high art (including in the P-39!). Having spent two solid hours on landings in real aircraft, however, really made things click, and I'm putting down the virtual planes rather credibly. My wife remarked (rather wryly) that all the money was worth it when she saw me grease a three pointer in a Nieuport 17 in Rise of Flight last night.
I'm on hour six or eight depending on how one counts it, and due to solo the next time up. Somebody did a hard landing in the CTLS and put a crack in the right landing gear. There are several students flying it, so I'm discounting my first one where the flare was slightly less than two stories up. I was to solo last time out (I learned later), but we were out of time with the mechanic staying late to receive it for its first 100 hour check and an insurance snafu.
I split my hour count, having mentally shaved off the first two in a Cessna 172. Classic case of complete mis-match between instructor and student - he was reticent to the point of being mute most of the time, and I felt like I was being tested more than taught. That's not an indictment on him; there are folks that don't want a lot of back-and-forth, and he was gauging rough skills and letting me get comfortable by not being critical. Unfortunately I'm the type that wants feedback and instruction and to be challenged to think. There was also too much substitution going on - he is a Private Pilot CFI that hadn't taught to the Sport Pilot curriculum (though it's really the same, less instruments, night, and tower ops), didn't have a Light Sport Aircraft available, etc. While I could use a 172 to train in, the amount of this-for-that was making me uncomfortable.
So we parted ways after two hours. I didn't fire him so much as just let him go; but I'd recommend him to someone who was looking for a laid back instructor that was so unflappable as to almost appear bored. Not that he was; I just didn't want to spend my time with the Zen Instructor.
My current instructor is a whole different animal. He's not the least bit afraid to speak, both good and bad, after each maneuver (and sometimes during, which usually means his arms have become unfolded and he's saying "don't do that" or "no, no, dammit," etc.), and we talk about not just how to fly the airplane but how to be a pilot.
He's a funny guy with the whole "pull the throttle to idle and let's do emergency procedures" at all sorts of inopportune times.
"Hey, I'm doing the turns over the road thing here, could you knock it off?"
"Where you going to land?"
"Dammit, that was going to be a good one!"
"You had it the second time and are just showing off, and besides you started too high. Where are you going to land?"
"I dunno, lemme look - that field over there."
"Damn, I'll be short. I'd have to go for the median of the road."
"Know why you'd have to pick such a lousy spot?"
"Because I was so busy thinking about the manuever I didn't keep track of the terrain around me."
"Yep. Single engine, VFR, a thousand five hundred feet AGL and you've got to be thinking about more than one thing."
"Okay, you've got to be thinking about one more
thing, but all the time."
"Btw, what is the direction and speed of the wind to that road?"
"Crosswind from the left, about three knots."
"Hey, not bad! How'd you know?"
"I saw a Walmart bag getting blown across it up yonder, and that calf in the field is going to be upwind of the cow in this heat to catch it, too."
And he has a way of making his point that I enjoy.
"I think it's great you've jumped ahead to 'forward slip to a landing' instinctively, but you wouldn't have to if you would turn to final when you're supposed to - you cut the corner by half - and cut your throttle earlier."
Heck, best landing I did was an emergency procedure where he killed me just as we passed the landing end of the runway on the downwind. Flare and rumble with hardly a chirp. I've kept a log of events hour by hour and have been toying with turning it into a book; most on the subject have four stories - first orientation flight, solo, instruments, and check ride with almost nothing in between. Maybe folks are just naturals at this stuff and don't think it's worth to write about, but I find it's all fascinating and there's a bunch of fun stuff that happens.
As to the Nieuport, yep, I'm gonna build one this winter. 7/8ths scale from the Baslee kit. To be honest, beyond all the coolness of an open cockpit biplane it's the only one I can afford. Building a plane for around ten grand is in the budget - buying a factory LSA isn't. Heck, a used Cessna is out of my budget range.