The ‘pilot check’ for attacks seems to avoid the specific ‘point and shoot’ requirement of pretty much every other game. Why keep the protractor/tape-measure time-consuming step? Why make players move the little models to align with their targets? What purpose does it serve?
As to altitude represented by dice/markers: I agree that stands are a hurdle for the genre, but equate it to tablespace for ground games. What would be the reception of an ‘easy entry’ Napoleonic set of rules that had forces lined up on the edges of a 1’x6′ board that used dice/markers to indicate how far each unit had moved into the imaginary center of the table?
Uh, wait. I thought you were interested in a set of airwar rules, played with model airplanes, that doesn’t require positioning the models in their real-world spatial relationships (pointing at each other) in order to execute combat. Do I understand that you still want the models to physically move up and down on sticks? Seems…inconsistent. Am I missing some point?
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!