If you look at El Paso International Airport on Google Maps, on the south side apron and across from a hangar that is labeled "Sierra West Airlines" (west of the NASA facilities) there is a small quad-jet plane:

The aircraft is about 20 m long and has a wing span of about 18 m:


Any idea on what this is?

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    $\begingroup$ I added an image from Google maps, I guess this is the one you were talking about? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Jan 15, 2020 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


It's the McDonnell 220, registration N4AZ.

enter image description here (Source)

Wiki says

The McDonnell 119/220 was an attempt at making a business jet by McDonnell Aircraft in the late-1950s. It had a configuration that was unique by bizjet standards, with four jet engines mounted in individual pods underneath a low wing; it could accommodate ten passengers in a luxury executive configuration but could carry as many as 26.


The McDonnell Corporation used the airplane as a VIP transport for a few years before donating it to the Flight Safety Foundation's research facility in Phoenix, Arizona. As of 2020 the single prototype is still extant, registered as N4AZ and stored at El Paso International Airport.

Only one such plane exists. Its first flight was in 1959.

Here are some pictures.

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    $\begingroup$ good god that had to guzzle some gas, although not much different than a Jetstar. Thanks for the answer. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2020 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ 'Dale King' was impressed that you and Zeiss Ikon (25 seconds after you :-) ) were able to produce that answer so well and rapidly. He said: "Signed up just to say how next level the internet is. You can just post a picture of a pixelated plane and within an hour someone tells you what it is." What a time to be alive. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2020 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ @WilliamTaft According to the Wikipedia article we both linked, it appears that it was in direct competition with the Jetstar for a military light transport contract (the kind now held by VC-20). It was 1959, so anything with jet engines needed big tanks to have range... $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jan 16, 2020 at 12:07
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    $\begingroup$ @RussellMcMahon I was similarly impressed by the answers to a question I asked last summer. The user DeepSpace could within short time identify and produce the flight path of the plane I had observed. I know that's commonplace for you guys; but to me as an aviation layman but computer guy it is an indication for the scope of the information age, the level of transparency we are heading towards and the corresponding disappearance of privacy. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2020 at 7:47

This appears to be a McDonnell 119/220, a 1950s vintage business jet attempt (from before McDonnell merged with Douglas). The four engine layout with engines under the wings, coupled with the size, is very distinctive.

The one at El Paso is apparently a genuine rarity — there was only a single unit (the prototype) ever constructed.


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