Rapid drawdown of water level is one of the most important factors that influencing the embankment stability. Based on the principle of geomechanical model test and hydroaulic model test methods, the model test was performed to study Yellow River downstream embankment instability induced by rapid drawdown of water level. The slope models with geometric scale of 1:25, 1:45, 1:62.5 were constructed in the transparent plexiglass model box with 1.6m long, 0.8m wide and 0.6m high. Changes on the slope were recorded during water level decline at different velocity by digital camera and slope tracer etc. The model test results showed that during the rapid drawdown process, there was only small cracks and not slippage in advance; when the water level dropped to a certain height, the sliding distance increased suddenly, which showed that the rate of water level decline was behind the river water, and the slope weight and downslope hydrodynamic pressure by the saturation line in slope body were higher than water lever exceeds the sliding force in a very short period of time, which caused landslide; after the sliding body appearing, slide was continuous and not mutation.