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Everyone knows about dogfighting, two fighters each desperately trying to bring the other down and fly home in victory. ]This isn't about that, this about when lots of fighters mix it up in an epic battle. Occasionally pops up in other mediums besides air such as under water or in space!
The "furball" part of the name is fighter pilot jargon for the cloud formed by curving exhaust trails from all the participating aircraft; the result can look like a giant ball of yarn or wool before the wind (and the aircraft) disperse it.
Super-Trope for Old School Dogfighting, which is a dogfight In Space. See also Standard Starship Scuffle, which generally involves these; Space Fighter, which does it; The Battlestar, which starts and fights in these; Airborne Aircraft Carrier, which deploys these, and Flight Simulator for the game genre. Chasing Your Tail is the equivalent to a duel to this trope's Fight Scene.
Anime and Manga
- Area 88: A series built around numerous aerial battles.
- Gall Force: A smaller one occurs with The Battlestar, two fighters, three Humongous Mecha and a suit of Power Armor versus maybe two or three dozen "battle drones" (actually Starfish Aliens in Power Armor).
- Macross and Robotech: Both had loads of this with a chance to provide the name for Macross Missile Massacre and a number of other tropes.
- Battle of Britain: The 1969 film contains a number of dogfights, including a climatic one near the end.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: There's a scene where a bunch of submarine fighters get into a fur ball, but under water!
- Independence Day: Had two dogfighting scenes: the first where the alien ships were invulnerable due to their shields, and the second at the end where they weren't.
- Red Tails: The film features a lot of WW 2 era dogfighting, as George Lucas happens to love such things.
- Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow: Multiple furballs, including air and submarine battles.
- Star Wars: This was one of the film's contributing factors for its success.
- Top Gun: One of the major draws of the movie, the other being Ho Yay.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe: Anytime fighters show up, furballs ensue.
- X Wing Series is a series of novels focusing around the piloting and espionage exploits of Rogue Squadron.
Live Action Television
- Babylon 5: This happens fairly frequently, with actual Newtonian physics, no less! Though the heavier ships often steal the show.
- Battlestar Galactica Reimagined: The reimagining changed a great deal from the original, adding massive numbers of fighters duking it out around the titular battlestar.
- Piece Of Cake: A 1988 mini-series about a squadron of RAF Spitfire pilots in the early years of WWII.
- Stargate SG-1: Had one of these occur over Antarctica, oddly enough.
- GURPS Lensman: Had rules for fighter combat. A sidebar titled "The Furball" had special rules for groups of fighters in close combat.
- Star Fleet Battles: Supplement Captain's Module J: Fighters! had incredibly complex rules for dogfighting (what did you expect, it's Star * Fleet Battles ). Fighters could use drones (missiles) against each other, including special "dogfight drones".
- Ace Combat is built entirely around having big air to air battles.
- Advance Wars: Dual Strike has some battles that take place entirely in the sky, fighter planes being the main form of offense.
- Airforce Delta: The games have these, including some that occur In Space.
- Elite:All three games of the series, you are a pilot of a small starship. All combat in Elite 1 and most combat in Elite 2: Frontier and Elite 3: Frontier First Encounters is either a dogfight (if you are attacked by a single enemy ship) or a furball (if there are several attackers). The game's title is a rank you achieve if you win a certain number of dogfights and furballs.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe games built around this:
- X: The series of games revolves around this trope. A character in the later parts of the game who flies into a Xenon sector to duke it out can bring in a few battleships and carriers, as well as combat drones, resulting in hundreds of ships battling, and dozens of dogfights going on at once.