I've been flying since before I could drive a car. I only have about 250 hours, but I started when I was sixteen and flew gliders and then eventually qualified for my Private Pilots Licence in '87. After a few years of flying, I took a break for about five years. It was a money thing, not borne from a lack of desire. There is always plenty of that!
After the five year break, I went back to the club to get checked out. I had not touched a yoke at all in those five years, but logged over 150 hours on MS flight simulator. I tuned my joystick so that the "hat" control allowed quick looks to the sides and flew by reference to the runway and I flew mostly circuits.
Once I had the sim set up, I tried everything. Landings, takeoffs, night, day, instrument flying, equipment failures and engine failures on takeoff including the very controversial "return to the runway you just left" turn (a nearly impossible feat). I did it all in the airplanes I would fly, high wing cessnas.
Time for the checkride. I started up, taxied out and headed for the practice area. After a while, we came back for circuits. About the third landing, the instructor started to ask me what I had been flying.
"There is no way", he said, "that you have not been flying for five years." He started to beg me to tell him if I had been flying a friends plane, or maybe I was some kind of transport canada spy or something. I told him nope, none of the above.
But, I had been flying a flight simulator, and I still fly a flight sim all winter, to stay sharp.