Well I've written twice to GOG.com and still no reply on this issue. It's the same as other people have written about: unplayably low FPS. This is the first time I've really felt let down by GOG.com as this was in all fairness a complete waste of money. Perhaps it will work on XP (I'm on 7, 64 bit at the moment), but that's a bit annoying just for one game.
I got stuck at the second DI world animation but then I got passed it and was able to configure aircraft, but not play yet.
I found at that running config.exe, admin vs. standard user the settings are different. This enabled it to work better as I could now actually adjust settings for the account being used. :-)
I had to wait for the logo to go away, after escaping.
The old files in the LOG directory are used as save game files. You might also want to try using F18.exe instead of F18start.exe as a trial as stated by other users.
Update --Success: got on the runway by going to F18.exe and using Windows95 for compatability mode options, I also had other boxes checked except 640x480. For now in config I turned off movies/whatever its called. On the runway Control Q exits the mission. Now just get to train. ha using F18.exe to start it.