I'm looking for a roleplaying game that captures the feel and the complexity, but also the speed and split second reactions of dogfighting in the skies.
I don't have any specific requirements for the roleplaying game aspect. The game should feature full blown characters, with social interactions and a life of their own. For example I think that Death Watch did a pretty good job of having a military organisation and mission-based feel in a roleplaying game. But it was pretty restricted on the actual roleplaying side due to the setting, I would not mind more social interaction (and rules governing that part) between characters and NPCs. Other than that, I don't care. Class-based or not, level-based or not, stats or attributes, skill or feats, whatever it's called, that's fine.
Prefered settings are WWI or WWII. Alternate history is fine, steam punk or maybe something like Warhammer 40K Imperial Guards is okay, too. Star Wars RPGs in my experience has dogfighting as something that might happen narratively and for only a few characters while the others watch. I would like a game where all players participate in those dogfights as a main part of the game. Comparable to D&D just with planes instead of all other encounters.
The game does not have to be rules light (I don't think that would fit in with the mechanics of dogfighting very well). It should feature a kind of map or board or system for having miniatures or counters for visualisation. This is not a hard requirement, I just cannot see how else it would work. If you found something that works well without visualization, feel free to mention it.
The planes should have a somewhat realistic damage model not just an amount of hitpoints.
Even if it's not WWI or II, it should not feature any kind of prominent magic. I don't mind the existance of magic or psykers or a "force", but if it exists it should be a background story thing, not something the players come into contact with regularly. It should be air planes, mechanical devices, not magic carpets or huge birds or whatever fantasy someone can come up with.
We are 3 players and a GM right now, so the game should work in that setup.
I have noticed War Birds and would not rule it out. If anyone has experience, I'd like to hear it. But it does not seem to be the perfect fit, so I am here looking for more.