Episode 45: Shredded Plane

Air Date: January 18, 2006

A plane’s tail section in a widely circulated photo was shredded by an angry wife with a chainsaw.


The slices made by the chainsaw were jagged while the ones seen in the photo were clean slices.

A plane’s tail section in a widely circulated photo was shredded by a runaway taxiing plane’s propeller.


The full-scale test done with a run-away engine and stand-in tail section produced a result that was almost identical to the shredded plane seen in the photo.

Fire can be started using the friction caused by rubbing two sticks together.


While the Build Team – in their own words – "cheated" and used a drill and some gun powder, with a stick for a bit, the friction from the drill did light the tinder on fire.

Fire can be started using a bullet.


Earlier tests using modern weaponry (and smokeless powder) were unproductive. Tory then modified an old musket and replaced the bullet with a piece of cloth. When the gun was fired, the black powder ignited the cloth, which then ignited the tinder into which it was shot.

Fire can be started using a soda can bottom polished with chocolate.


Chocolate was used to buff out the wear marks and ink marking and give the can bottom a reflective shine that could focus light and produce heat. While the can was not able to light tinder that was held by hand, the rig easily lit when the tinder was secured on a makeshift rig that kept it from moving.

Fire can be started using a steel wool and the ends of a battery.


It took several tries but the ends of the battery eventually produced a spark that lit the steel wool on fire. A clip from a survivalist TV show also showed with Ron Hood this myth was confirmed. This is also a requirement for the American Boy Scout Wilderness Survival Merit badge.

Fire can be started using ice.


Kari used a globe of specially produced clear ice about half the size of a bowling ball to produce smoke and later fire when she used it as a refractive lens.


  1. Ninja says:

    There was a video online of a person who had a water balloon and started a fire with that.
    I believe he used it as a sort of lens.

  2. Adam says:

    My chemistry teacher had a 9 volt battery in his lab coat pocket one day while he was demonstrating an activity using steel wool. He unintentionally put the steel wool into the pocket where the battery was and caused the pocket to become inflamed.

  3. mike says:

    Les Stoud on the television show Survivorman lit a fire using a rifle round containing smokeless powder

  4. Franky says:

    I heard that you can make a bomb by lighting a fire at the base of some GROWING bamboo, the air pockets inside heat up the explode.

  5. Muzzy says:

    I’ve used two sticks to start a fire when I was a scout leader. It’s much easier to do the method using a stick with some sort of cap on top of it like a wet piece of wood too shield your hand, a shoelace made into a bow using another stick looped once around the fire starting stick, then a flat dry piece of wood with a notch in it and some dry bark or even hair. It took about 5 minutes to get a decent spark but it works. The 2 sticks method took just to damn long and wasted a lot of energy.

  6. Matt says:

    The plane in the photo shown in this episode was a training plane owned by The University of South Australia based at Parafield Airport
    in Adelaide,South Australia.I don’t know how it happened but can confirm it was the result of a runaway plane, as I responded to this incident with the emergency services at the time.

    • HGG says:

      As a South Aussie, I too can confirm that it was indeed the result of a runaway plane!

  7. jack says:

    when i was a student at the northern territory institute of aviation studies my teacher told us a story about how he had worked on a plane that this had happened to, he had photos of him working on it. it was the same plane! hahaha was good to see that this sort of stuff makes it over seas

    • Marina says:

      How fun!!! I hope you’re enjoying the faimly moon :)Interesting that you are in England at the moment during the times of the London riots. I just saw images of the protestors and fires. So sad Can’t wait to hear what you have seen or felt while you are there.

  8. bobcat says:

    SAS survival guide(available in any respectable bookmstore) shows exactly how to use ammunition to light a fire. im guessing the sas carry alot more rounds than i normaly do into “bad guy turf”

  9. Sebby says:

    I live in Indiana and I just got home from Ransburg scout camp after completing the firecrafter rank. To earn Firecrafter, you must build a fire by friction using all natural matirials except the string for your bow. I not only popped a spark, but also started a fire using that spark, as well as 40 other canadits. I would like to see the mythbusters re-do this fire by friction myth, which isn’t really a myth. If you want someone to talk to, see Bobo or Sox (Justin Scott) at Ransburg scout reservation. They can pop a spark in under a minute. It really be awsome if mythbusters re-did this one. Thanks.

  10. Adam says:

    The shredded plane photo from parafield is cool

  11. HGG says:

    It wouldn’t have been as fun but all the Mythbuster team has to do was contact the University of South Australia to confirm the shreaded plane pic.

  12. shannn sherriff says:

    i love this epiosode watched it in call

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