I'm new to Elite, but have played other flying games. I'm doing the tutorial, but can't get past the advanced combat tutorial. No matter what I do, once the enemy gets behind me, it stays there until I'm dead. What is it I'm not understanding about dogfighting? I can't get them in front of me to fire back.
There are several things which should be considered when fighting a maneuverable enemy (or when flying your ship in any other situation):
Speed - your maneuverability is highest when your speed is about 50% (indicated by the blue zone next to your speed indicator). If you need to turn anywhere, set your throttle to 50%, you'll get there faster.
You can bind a button to 50% throttle in the settings.
Energy management - the more pips you have in engines, the faster you'll turn. If you end up putting all your pips in shields and weapons, the sidewinder in the tutorial becomes quite sluggish.
Boost - generally don't boost when dogfighting. It gives you a couple of seconds of very high maneuverability, but it will also accelerate you a lot, putting you way out of the blue zone.
Flight assist off - the most complicated, but also the most effective way to deal with a more maneuverable enemy behind you, is to turn off flight assist, and flip over. Turning off flight assist permits you to change rotation without changing your velocity vector. In essence, you stop being a plane, and start being a spaceship.
While not unbeatable - a quick commander at point-blank range may be able to strafe around you as quickly as you turn - NPCs won't generally manage that.
Check your keybindings if you're not sure how to turn FA off, and don't forget to turn it back on afterwards.