Here is Air Combat 101 from two giants of the discpline. For your consideration:
By the summer of 1916, Oswald Boelcke had become Germany’s top fighter pilot. Feldflugchef Colonel Thomsen of the German High Command urged Boelcke to draw up a summary of principles that should govern every air fight. His list of ‘rules’ for success is often referred to as the ‘Dicta Boelcke.’
1. Try to secure advantages before attacking. If possible keep the sun behind you.
2. Always carry through an attack when you have started it.
3. Fire only at close range and only when your opponent is properly in your sights.
4. Always keep your eye on your opponent, and never let yourself be deceived by ruses.
5. In any form of attack it is essential to assail your opponent from behind.
6. If your opponent dives on you, do not try to evade his onslaught, but fly to meet it.
7. When over the enemy’s lines never forget your own line of retreat.
8. For the Staffel: Attack on principle in groups of four or six. When the fight breaks up into a series of single combats, take care that several do not go for one opponent.
Erich “Bubi” Hartmann, the world’s top scoring fighter pilot ever with 352 confirmed air-to-air kills in WW2, had a simple formula: See – Decide – Attack – Coffee Break.
1. See. You have to see your prey first. 90% of all kills are made against pilots who never saw the threat.
2. Decide. Is it safe to attack? Can you get away with it or are there factors that should induce caution? Can you attack from your current position or must you maneuver?
3. Attack. Make it swift and merciless. Fly close to your victim, from dead astern or slightly below if possible, and shoot only when you’re certain to score an immediate kill. This means closing to minimum distance – your sight should be black with the enemy.
4. Coffee Break. If you can’t attack safely or without the enemy taking drastic action to evade you, take a coffee break. I.e, disengage and look for an easier victim. If you do attack, make it in one single pass and immediately disengage to a safe altitude or a safe area to regain situational awareness.