I mentioned a short time ago I would let y’all know what I thought of several flight sims, especially with respect to IFR practice. I’ve done some playing, so here is my feedback.
X-plane - has some nice features and an excellent flight model, and generally superb performance. However it has a few bugs, and suffers from the fact that it is the product of one very talented individual, whose ego gets in the way. It’s also reverted to $199 at which price it is no bargain. Runs on the Mac, unlike most of the others.
FS2000 - quite the opposite of X-plane; a huge, slow product of a huge, slow organization. Maybe on a 1GHz Athlon it might perform ok, but frame rate is way too poor to be usable, IMHO.
Fly! - not quite as accurate a flight model as X-plane, and lacks the ability to (easily) design new planes. User interface is a little clunky. But overall, it has a polished feel, performs quite well on reasonable hardware, has good IFR support (including a hood and a custom IFR panel) and is cheap! An absolute bargain at $19.95. Fly!2K is also available at $29.95, but I have not tried it.
Of these I’ve settled on Fly!. At the price it can’t be beat, and has the great advantage for me that it runs well under Win2000.