Episode 17: Elevator of Death, Levitation Machine

Air Date: October 6, 2004

It is possible to survive a freefalling elevator by jumping up at the last moment before it hits the ground.


The jumping power of a human being cannot cancel out the falling velocity of the elevator. The best speculative advice from an elevator expert would be to lie on the elevator floor instead of jumping. Adam and Jamie speculated the attendant survived because the tight elevator shaft created an air cushion. This together with spring action from slack elevator cable could have slowed the car to survivable speeds.

(This myth is fueled by the story of an elevator attendant found alive but badly injured in an elevator car that had fallen down a shaft in the Empire State Building after a B-25 Medium Bomber crashed into it in 1945.)

An average person can build a home-made makeshift hovercraft on a budget of under $500.00.


While they did cheat and go slightly over-budget both Adam and Jamie built two separate functional hovercraft. While Adam’s "Lilypad Flyer" and Jamie’s "Hyneman Hoverboard" were both rather impractical they worked nonetheless.


  1. Ali says:

    I think that although a good effort was made to make a home-made levitation machine it failed. But one thing I want to know is whether an inflatable skirt was used, the type same as those on large hovercrafts because it greatly improves the obsticle handling capabilities of the machine.

  2. matthew says:

    I love your show its the best ever i think you shoud have a welder week and test welder myths and I am 10 years old and now how to rod weld and my dad taught me how you have the best show ever i want to meet you adam and jami i live in kelowna that sucks i cant meet you. I hope you talk about me on the show a bet matthew

  3. Cole says:

    I love Mythbustrs they do such cool stuff I think it would be awsome if I went on the mythbuster team when I was older I live in Palm Springs so I would have to fly there I think the levitation machin was really cool. I wish I had four leaf blowers. if you two worked together with a higher budget it would have worked so good.

  4. Ashley says:

    I’m a grand fan of your show and whatnot, and I had decided to write one of my Journal’s about your show. I was amused by this episode and decided to write out it. Maybe when I’m older, I could try and become like you guys. Busting myths or having them prove you wrong is one of the fun things about your show, but the information I get from it is extravagant. Can’t wait to find episodes of your show.

  5. caleb says:

    hi, my brother and I once made a dummy but had no myths to do with it so we through it out of a tree. got any ideas for backyard dummy myths on a budget of £5?

  6. michael says:

    levitation machine too cool for school im austrailian but ive watched lots of myth busters videoes and im a BIG fan of myth busters and go Buster!

  7. Trip says:

    Adam, I think I have the answer to your thrust problem with the “Lilypad Flyer”. Try adding a thruster nozzle to the 1-horsepower tree pruner motor fan, like on a garden hose this should increase the velocity of the air powering the foward movement, then attach your rudders to the nozzle so you can steer the thing.

  8. jos tuinier says:

    i watched the one with the fighter jets trying to break glass.
    it did not work.
    the reason i think i didn’t is because the glass was all outside the building, if it would have been inside it should heve been broken.
    Can you also let me know when the concrete truck explosion edition comes back on?love that one.
    I have a myth for you to test.
    We live in east texas and have a lot of wild hogs around.
    they say that if you put a red lens on your flash lights the pigs will not run away.

    have a great day, love your show.

  9. OG says:

    I love the narrator when Jamie’s team finds out about Adam cheating the budget. He goes on about Jamie’s team possibly taking the high road, or stooping to Adam’s level, and the very next scene the narrator goes “And that’s exactly what they do”, and you see Jamie’s team cheating and rigging up another leaf blower.

  10. winter says:

    What happens when you blow up a TV

  11. Selena says:

    i think that it doesnt matter how much they spent i think it matters that they had a good run with the levitation machine and they opened up another door for discovery weither scientists have been able to explore it is irrelevent

  12. Selena says:

    and i think blowing up a tv is a very stupid thing to do winter

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