I played the better part of the game without progressing the plot to the point where you get the spoiler'ed ability that assists with flying dragons.
My strategy for dealing with flying dragons tends to boil down to:
- Conjure a Flame Atronach - conjuring this takes relatively low Conjuration skill, and it lasts pretty well while a dragon is circling. The Atronach's fire bolts tend to hit more often that not, and the flame damage increases the damage taken from other sources.
- Pull the dragon near some guards or other armed NPCs - They tend to have pretty decent aim with their bows, and I've watched my Atronach and a couple of hunters take a dragon down with little involvement from me.
- Use ranged abilities - Bows never really did the job, as far as I'm concerned. It's too hard to aim, the refire rate is relatively low at low levels of Archery, and the damage done tended to be relatively minimal. The Shock spells tended to do a bit better, if the dragon was interested in staying still or flying low.
- Stand under overhangs - If you're in an area where there are things to stand under and get cover from, this is the #1 way I've found of getting the dragon to land. The easiest spot to explain is at the College of Winterhold - the gate area that leads into the courtyard where the statue is. If you stand here for 30 seconds or so, the dragon will almost always land in the courtyard. You can generalize this to other areas - just find a spot where there's no line of sight to the air, and the dragon will have to land in order to fight you.
All in all though, if you don't have the spoilery ability, and you're out in the middle of nowhere, low on arrows and no magic skill to speak of, your best bet is to run away.