Mid-late Cold War is pretty damn great, although Area88 (mercs flying obsolete planes) was a perfect setting.
But I dont really understand the fixation upon dogfights for the sake of portraying "exciting air battles". Macross has lastingly ruined this genre/style by dumb meaningless effect (and missile) spamming.
An autistically portrayed BVR-engagement with accurately employed tactics, maneuvers and limitations would be much more engaging for the viewer.
Imagine little girls working with radars, ECM and EW-systems, trying to burn through enemy jamming, blacking out by pulling high G Split-S and snaking maneuvers to bleed the enemy AMRAAMs, and finally "score kills" because the enemy plane's wings were ripped off after pulling the same sort of maneuvers. As such, a modern day setting would be great, especially with all those aesthetically pleasing sleek modern planes and their shiny MFDs and holographic HUDs.
This would be, admittedly, something from the 80s anime. But still, something 08th MS team styled (or let's say Haifuri/Panzer-styled) would probably still be good today.