From: Utlima Thule
in my view, the best way in is via the scenarios.
Breakout is good as it really focusses on ground combat with limited options. Either Market Garden or WestWall are good as they will teach you a lot about the logistics game.
In both, you can start with the air war fully automated - just ignore it.
Then there are a range of ways to mix automation with manual input, down to the level where you choose load outs, plane allocation to mission, mission height and flightpaths.
Once you feel that essentially tactical movement and combat are under some control, try one of the Strat air war scenarios. Don't fuss about the VP side, just get used to setting up air directives, thinking about the logic of sustaining your attacks - try things out ... ignore fatigue - what happens? Bomb 3 days a week - what happens?
I know the Husky scenario is set up as the intro but I'd leave that a while, it has invasions and para drops etc.
in general for the air war, esp if you are playing the AI, find your own happy spot between control and automation.
when you start a campaign, you'll find with the allies that the strategic air war is the main thing up to an invasion of France - so you might want to manage this closely at those stages and then automate later on. Its a huge game but lots of ways to break it down.