The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 10: Explosive Decompression, Frog Giggin’, Rear Axle

Premier Date: January 18, 2004

Explosive decompression can occur when a bullet is fired through the fuselage of a pressurized airplane, causing the hole to grow dramatically and possibly cause the plane to break up as seen in movies.

busted

The pressure is not high enough and the hole is too small. Explosive decompression only occurred when a hole the size of a window was made with explosives. Even then, the rush of air could not suck Buster completely out of the hole. Lastly, there are proven instances of explosive decompression where the plane was still able to maintain control and land.

(This myth was revisited in episode 38 and it was re-busted.)

A group of hillbillies use a live .22LR cartridge as a makeshift replacement for a burned-out fuse in their truck, but while the truck is driving, the bullet heats up enough to discharge, hitting driver in the groin and causing enough damage to require surgery.

busted*

The bullet did work as a replacement fuse, however when a short circuit was created, the wiring fried and the bullet did not fire. When the wiring was upgraded to a higher gauge, the bullet did fire out of the fusebox, but not with enough velocity to cause any serious injury.

*Though both Adam and Jamie admitted that the myth was plausible from their tests, they had to call it busted due to a lack of conclusive evidence, and the fact that they didn’t have a "plausible" verdict during the first season.

A steel cable, attached to both a street light post and the rear axle of a police car, will be able to yank the rear axle clear out from under the car when it tries to drive off, as seen in American Graffiti.

busted

The rear axle was able to be pulled loose, but only after several bolts securing it were removed. Additionally the axle was caught along the underside of the police car and could not clear the trunk. Adam and Jamie theorized that, in the movie, a ramp was used to give the car and axle enough of a boost to wrench the axle completely free.