Dogfighting is the act of close range air to air combat between two or more pilots. When the term was invented in the First World War, it refered specifically to large multiplane engagments, but since that time, it has come to signifiy any form of air to air fighting within visual range.
Traditionally, dogfighting involves a pair of fighters, either jet or prop powered. A dogfight, however, may be fought between any group of comperable aircraft which are engaged with the principal goal of shooting eachother down. If, for instance, a pair of B-52's attempt to engage each other with their tail guns would be classed as a B-52 dogfight. Engagments outside of visual range, or between fighters and non-fighters, are generally considerded a type of interception.
Within the world of YSFlight, the gun is considered the weapon of choice by most experienced fighter pilots. In the past, the short ranged missile has also been modestly useful, particularly close in to the opponent. Since the 2011 updates, all YS air to air missiles can be employed effectivly in a dogfight. Other weapons of note include unguided rockets,which are quite popular in helicopter dogfights, and 500lb bombs, particularly the high drag varient, which may be used defensively at low altitudes to scare off or destroy an attacker. YS dogfights fall under three general types: formal, informal, and furball.
A formal dogfight is surrounded in substantial tradition, and generally follows a set of widely accepted rules. Both particupants agree on a specific aircraft, or on two comperable aircraft - the stock F-16 is the standard here, but any mutually agreeable plane may be substituted. Within the English speaking YS community, the current standards require no trim, permit flaps, and specify a standard fuel load between 20% and 45%, with 30% being the norm. Both pilots are expected to use the same fuel load. Generally, no weapons or external stores are carried, and both fighters use only the internal gun.
An informal dogfight is any type of fight which does not adhear to the standards of a formal dogfight. When one plane engages another without prior agreement, it's an informal dogfight. Such fights may be initiated as a form of interception, or on a server where combat between different IFF's is the standard practice. More or less, anything goes in such a fight, but care shold be taken to avoid planes generally considered to be cheat planes.
A furball can be any engagment which involves more than 2 fighters. Pilots in a furball may be divided into teams, or the furball can be a free-for-all. Generally, missiles are either permitted or not permitted, and all aircraft may or may not be of the same general capabilities and era.