The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 37: Escape Slide Parachute

Premier Date: August 10, 2005

It is possible to jump from a disabled airplane and use an inflatable life raft to safely return to earth (as in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)


Any attempt to use the raft failed due to the instability of the raft in free fall. It was possible to rig the raft as a parachute and land with minimal injuries, but this would not be possible to perform while jumping from a disabled aircraft.

It is possible to jump from a disabled airplane and use an inflatable escape slide to safely return to earth.


While it was shown that the slide could safely land Buster with no injuries, there would be no possible way to inflate the slide and strap yourself to it from an airborne aircraft.

A person strapped into the rear stewardess seat could survive the destruction of the aircraft in flight by having the surviving tail section slow her fall and absorb impact.


While Adam and Jamie’s attempt to recreate the incident resulted in Buster once again being heavily damaged, this event actually happened in real life. The stewardess was severely injured in the incident, but did survive. It was agreed that it was very improbable, but could happen if circumstances were just right.

A number of Canadian Air Force pilots were explosively decapitated when their hair gel exploded in the oxygen-rich environment of the cockpit.


After recreating the environment in an F-104 Starfighter cockpit, it took some effort to ignite the hair product. Even with extreme amounts of product, the best result was a fire and/or small explosion, which came nowhere near decapitating the test head. It was confirmed that there have been a number of incidents in which small fires have occurred, but there are no recorded fatal injuries. It was noted that a fire in a pure oxygen environment killed the astronauts of Apollo 1.