I’m not an aerobatic pilot, just looking for knowledge from those in the know. Several years ago an Air Force Thunderbird crashed at Mountain Home while executing a split-S after takeoff (I’m sure many remember it). I believe that it was caused because of lack of altitude at the top. It’s obvious that the aircraft was (mostly) level and still sinking at impact. So, another hundred feet +/- may have been enough to save it. Like I said – I’m not an expert. The questions I have are: 1 - at what point in the split-S maneuver is the abort point – 45 degrees nose down, vertical, ??? 2 – after the abort point, would a pilot be able to gain more distance to the ground (flight path, not altitude) by turning to the left or right? That would provide a small corkscrew path that may have bought him that needed extra distance. Or, is it a moot-point because the turn would decrease lift and nullify the extra distance in the flight path? In other words, by curving to the side and extending the flight path, is it possible to buy enough time to save the maneuver if it’s right at the edge of failure? I hope that all makes sense. This is simply a theoretical exercise based on my limited aviation experience, but one that I’ve never had someone knowledgeable enough to ask.