Yes, I noticed I could deactivate them after a while, which I did, and so the game became even more enjoyable.
Also, I admit, maybe my post was indeed a bit confusing, so I guess I will explain it:
As you already said there are quite a few possibilities to include cockpits in the game.
The first one is simply use cockpits in the WCP style, which is... ok I guess since WCP did it, and it is also possible to include those in the FSO engine quite quickly. I assume that's what Tolwyn meant. Personally I don't like those cockpits very much because I'm a huge fan of WC1 cockpits, those made the fighters look more... individual. The WCP style cockpits may be good to add some sense of being in a fighter, but they are too less obstructing the view for me to feel like a real cockpit.
For me they don't add as much "in-cockpit"-feeling as I would like to have. Especially since I know how the fighter cockpits of WC3 "really" looked and when I played WCP after a while I liked to think that in WCP the new fighters actually would have such cockpits (which are a real good new technology because you can see much more through your windows). So it would have felt weird to show such cockpits in a WC3 environment, because, you know... we all know that in the WC3 era cockpits weren't that far developed.
The second option is a static 2D cockpit. I'm not sure whether the FSO engione allows them, but I think they are possible (EDIT: ok, they are possible, see my example). They just would look bad, especially on wide screen resolutions (which most people have now). Also they would be bad if you use a TrackIR head tracker for example (which I do) because if you want to turn your head in an angle escept 90 or 180 degrees the 2D-cockpit isn't made for that. It would look really bad unless you limit the view to 90 degrees angles and build those views as extra 2D files for the side-, back- and up views.
I don't remember if those were an option during the development of Saga or why Tolwyn dropped the idea if it existed, that was a looong time ago.
Here is an example that shows the problems, it's from WCHF: http://www.ciinet.org/kevin/myimages/landreich/MissionDesign01.png
It is a nice try, but... no. Saga couldn't have released something like that with all those problems I just explained.
The last ones are of course the 3D models, of which at least two were done AFAIK, you can see the models in the cutscenes and some artworks that were released a while ago. Here is an example:
They look great, but they have some problems:
1. In order to use them fully in the game they have to be complete, and they aren't.
2. They are a lot of work to look good, and with Scooby being the only modder who was available most of the time there was a significant problem concerning time. Creating those for all fighters in the game (Arrow, Hellcat, Thunderbolt, Longbow, Excalibur and Sabre) would have taken months.
3. There are two ways of creating cockpits for FSO ships:
a) including them into the ship model. Sounds good but isn't, because in order to look good the cockpits would use a huge amount of polies (more than the ships themself do now) and the polycount for the ships is limited. There are some FS ships with cockpits that don't look too bad, but I don't know any that would have the quality Saga aimed for.
Here is an example of a rather good looking one:
As you can see they have the same problem as the Standoff ones, they are statically textured and while they do allow shadowing and colored lighting in the cockpit (which is great) you can't show the ship stats or something in the screens, you still have to overlay the HUD WCP style
b) not including them in the ship's model but to have them separate, like Oceankhayne mentioned. So you don't have the problem with the polycount of the ships, but you still don't have real working displays in the cockpit. The whole HUD is still an overlay that may look good from a certain view, but not if you turn your head in the game (since the HUD is still fixed on your view).
Here's one Scooby did for his Demon. Unfortunately without working displays:
And here's a video showing another one:
So none of the possible solutions was quite satisfactory, and Tolwyn decided not to to include cockpits that would have looked bad or mediocre, but to follow the style of WC4 and omit the cockpits. We all were a bit sad but I think it was the right decision.
I hope I did explain it a bit more understandable now.