Or… why even do the trench run at all? Just align an X-wing at a 90 degree angle to the Death Star surface and fly directly towards the exhaust port. Then fire torpedoes in a straight line into the port. Fire multiple proton torpedoes in case some are intercepted by laser turret fire, or first target the laser turrets themselves. You could fire the torpedoes from a great distance away. A computer-guided torpedo could hit the small exhaust port without a human pilot having to fly anywhere near the Death Star.
There is a line of dialogue about it being “heavily shielded” or “ray-shielded” in the rebel briefing? I took that as the reason why they couldn’t fire at it from distance or closer distances with “line of sight”, though I could be wrong on that, or misinterpreting it? I’ll have to watch go watch it, the whole film, again! 😃
I think they say that the ray shields are the reason they need to use proton torpedoes (as opposed to, I guess, just regular laser fire?). Maybe the idea is that ray shields only protect against energy weapons, but wouldn’t protect against a physical object like a torpedo.