22,111 Israeli military aircraft have violated Lebanese airspace over the last 15 years. For the first time this information is made publicly accessible at AirPressure.info. This website has aggregated, transcribed and developed a comprehensive, searchable, and interactive database to make the Israeli illegal aerial invasions of Lebanon visible in their totality.

Constantly hearing hostile jets and drones overhead, residents of Lebanon live in a state of precarity; the potential of full scale aerial bombardment is a daily possibility. The disturbing roar of Fighter jets tearing up the coastline and the persistent buzz of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles circling the southern regions have become a familiar part of the Lebanese soundscape. Yet till now there has been no easy way of accessing information about what or just how many of these aircraft are in the sky. AirPressure.info has recorded that 8,231 fighter jets and 13,102 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have violated the Lebanese skies since 2007. These invasive acts are not short flyovers but rather last an average of 4 hours and 35 minutes. The combined duration of these flights amounts to 3,098 days. That is 8.5 years of jets and drones continually occupying the sky.

↑  What are these military aircraft doing?

These numbers tell a story, not only about the threatening incursions of one nation into the sovereign space of another, but of life under mass indiscriminate surveillance. These aerial incursions are an unprecedented violation of a population’s privacy by a foreign nation. People’s phone calls and text messages are being accessed and their homes and movements photographed indiscriminately. Moreover, regular and protracted exposure to these overhead military aircraft, impacts the physical and psychological lives of those that have had to endure the constant air pressure from above. AirPressure.info refers to the conclusions of 17 peer-reviewed articles from renowned scientific journals which detail the acute physiological effects of aircraft noise. These papers concur that hypertension, circulatory effects, sleep disturbance and psychosomatic pains are commonly associated with the long term exposure of precisely this type of noise pollution.

The loudest of all aircraft sounds is the fighter jet. Though typically they invade in pairs, AirPressure.info has recorded 30 occasions when between 8 to 12 jets entered the Lebanese airspace at once. These jets regularly break the sound barrier over urban areas causing sonic booms that have been known to shatter windows. An F-18 has an acoustic footprint of almost 500 square km (in comparison a Boeing 737 passenger jet is closer to 90 square km). Since Lebanon’s widest point is only 88 kilometres, these jets are conceivably heard by the entire population as they fly north over the mountains and south down the coast line.

↑  Where does this website get its data?

AirPressure.info has sourced its data from 243 letters uploaded to the UN Digital Library from 2006 - 2021. Each letter was addressed to the UN Security Council and authored by the permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations. The letters records all the radar information including: the time, duration, type and trajectory of each aircraft violation. However, to gather this data was a painstaking process. The documents had been unsystematically uploaded and could be disparately located across the website; there were times where one could only find the letter authored in Arabic and a few occasions in which the data could not be found at all. The documents were also inconsistent; a document could pertain to all the violations recorded in one day, in one week, in one month or in some cases they were recording the flights over a seemingly arbitrary span of time. The team behind AirPressure.info had to patch all these documents together and transcribe each and every violation manually in order to make these numbers accessible and legible. The Ministry of Defence in Lebanon, The UN Security Council, and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon have been monitoring and recording these violations, and have had clear access and capacity to do this work themselves. Instead, by storing the data in a piecemeal and uncoordinated fashion, these institutions have obfuscated the scale of these crimes.

↑  Select Facts and Figures

  • The highest amount of Israeli fighter jets to enter Lebanese airspace in a single day was 56, on 26 July 2010. The highest amount of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles entering the atmosphere in single day was 92, on 2 July 2008.
  • The highest amount of Israeli military aircraft to enter Lebanon in a week was 229, on the week of 30 June 2008. This is followed by 172, on the week of 27 July 2020.
  • Highest number of Israeli military aircraft in one year was 3134 in 2008. Followed by 2390 in 2010, and 2344 in 2020.
  • The typical flight path for an Israeli fighter jet enters over the southern border, most commonly over Kfar Kila, and then circles all regions of Lebanon before exiting over the sea at Naqurah.
  • The typical flight path for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (such as the IAI Heron) is to enter over the southern border, circle the entire southern region of the country, and exit over Rmaych.
  • On average, an Unmanned Aerial vehicle will spend over 5 hours circling the skies. There are shocking exceptions to this: on 1 March 2013 a single flight was recorded to have lasted 30 hours and 50 minutes.
  • During the summer months there is an increase in aerial violations by 10%. During this time, high levels of humidity create an atmospheric haze that compromise the quality of aerial photographs. The summer is an important season for the Lebanese tourist industry, which can have a 20 percent contribution to the country’s annual GDP.
  • There is a popular misconception that these flights are part of the Israeli military strikes in Syria, however this database shows only 2 incidents where Fighter Jets entering from the Lebanese border exited into Syrian territory.

↑  Whats on this website?

Violations

An interactive map and database plots the routes of every flight as listed in the documents found in the UN digital library. One can use the database to identify a single flight path on a single day, see the total number of aircrafts, and their trajectories in a month of your choosing, or even look at an aggregate of all flights across the last 15 years.

In the Sky

This page is a reference library that collates overhead sounds. Users can compare the sounds of different vehicles commonly found in the sky. This page can help discern if, for example, a particular sound is emanating from a hostile source such as an F35, F16, Tomahawk cruise missile, or if it’s a commercial passenger plane. It can help users determine whether an overhead buzz on a particular day is the result of either an Elbit Hermes 450, an IAI Eitan UAV, or just a Lebanese owned Cessna 172 Skyhawk commonly used for amateur flight training.

On the Ground

For 2 years this project hired observers in Lebanon to document the skies and record videos of Israeli military vehicles overhead. These videos, combined with recordings sourced from social media, comprise the 180 videos found on this page. These videos capture the threatening sounds and sights of Israeli military aircraft, as well as the discussion among citizens and residents speaking about what’s happening above them. This ongoing discussion is also legible in the collected Twitter posts displayed on this page: users have been utilising the hashtag #حربي_بالاجواء to analyze and document Israeli military aircraft in the sky above Lebanon. While these may be less verifiable than the data from which the main body of this website is composed, these videos and tweets give a unique and humanitarian perspective on the issue. They allow a glimpse of what it is like to live under a hostile sky.

The documentation of these violations is uploaded to the UN digital library after a delay of 2 months or longer. The data displayed here is not live. This website will be updated annually.

↑  Further reading on the health risks of exposure to military aircraft noise

  • Efroymson R, Rose W, and Suter G. Ecological risk assessment framework for low-altitude overflights by fixed-wing and rotary-wing military aircraft. Technical Report ORNL/TM-2000/289, Oak Ridge National Labs, 2000.
  • Ising H, Rebentisch E, and Poustka F et al. Annoyance and health risk caused by mili- tary low-altitude flight noise. Int. Arch Occup Environ Heath, pages 357–363, 1990. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00381365.
  • Ising H, Rebentisch E, Babisch W, Curio I, Sharp D, and Baumg ̈artner H. Medically relevant ef- fects of noise from military low-altitude flightsxresults of an interdisciplinary pilot study. Environment International, 16(4):411–423, 1990. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0160-4120(90)90010-4.
  • Michalak R, Ising H, and Rebentisch E. Acute circulatory effects of military low-altitude flight noise. Int. Arch Occup Environ Heath, 62(5):365–372, 1990. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00381366.
  • Babisch W and van Kamp I. Exposure-response relationship of the association between air- craft noise and the risk of hypertension. Noise & Health, 11(44):161–168, 2009. DOI: https://www.noiseandhealth.org/text.asp?2009/11/44/161/53363.
  • Brenner H, Oberacker A, and Buchwalsky R. A field study on the immediate effects of exposure to low-altitude flights on heart rate and arrhythmia in patients with cardiac diseases. Int Journal Occup Environ Health, 65:263–268, 1993. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00381201.
  • Abel SM. Hearing loss in military aviation and other trades: Investigation of prevalence and risk factors. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 76(12):1128–1135, 2005.
  • Basner M, Samel A, and Isermann U. Aircraft noise effects on sleep: Application of the re- sults of a large polysomnographic field study. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 119(5):2772–2784, May 2006. DOI:101121/1.2184247.
  • Schultz TJ. Synthesis of social surveys on noise annoyance. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 64(2):377–405, 1978. DOI:10.1121/1.382013.
  • Greiser E, Greiser C, and Janhsen K. Night-time aircraft noise increases prevalence of prescriptions of antihypertensive and cardiovascular drugs irrespective of social class—the Cologne-Bonn airport study. Journal of Public Health, 15(5):327–337, 2007. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-007-0137-x.
  • Porter N, Kershaw A, and Ollerhead J. Adverse effects of night-time aircraft noise. Technical report, NATS, 2000.
  • Baudin C, Lef`evre M, Champelovier P, Lambert J, Laumon B, and Evrard AS. Aircraft noise and psychological ill-health: The results of a cross-sectional study in France. Int. J Env. Research & Public Health, 15(8):1642, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081642.
  • K Hiramatsu, T Yamamoto, K Taira, A Ito, and T Nakasone. A survey on health effects due to aircraft noise on residents living around Kadena air base in the Ryukyus. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 205(4):451–460, 1997. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1006/jsvi.1997.1011.
  • T Miyakita, T Matsui, A Ito, T Tokuyama, K Hiramatsu, Y Osada, and T Yamamoto. Population- based questionnaire survey on health effects of aircraft noise on residents living around U.S. airfields in the Ryukyus – Part I: An analysis of 12 scale scores. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 250(1):129–137, 2002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1006/jsvi.2001.3897.
  • Elderblom FB, Gjestland TT, Granoien ILN, and Taraldsen G. The impact of civil versus military aircraft noise on noise annoyance. In INTER-NOISE and NOISE-CON Congress and Conference Pro- ceedings, volume 249, pages 786–795. Institute of Noise Control Engineering, 2014.
  • Gjestland T, Liasjø KH, and Granøien ILN. Community response to noise from short- term military aircraft exercise. Journal of sound and vibration, 182(2):221–228, 1995. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1006/jsvi.1995.0193.
  • Morinaga M, Kawai K, and Makino K. Aircraft noise annoyance around military airfields in Japan. In INTER-NOISE and NOISE-CON Congress and Conference Proceedings, volume 253, pages 854–863. Institute of Noise Control Engineering, 2016.

Explore UN source data →

AirPressure.info
is an investigation by
Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Principal researcher:
Nabla Yahya (2021—current)
Ahmad Baydoun (2020—2021)

Website design and programming:
Mortiz Ebeling

Contact:
daght.jawi@gmail.com

A specially commissioned study: “An assessment of Aircraft noise above Lebanon” was conducted by Professor Antonino Filippone from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester.

This web project was principally supported by:

ARS Art-Research-Sound, a research project led by Prof. Peter Kiefer at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Support also generously came from: the 12th Berlin Biennale, Sharjah Art Foundation. The research on this site will partly inform a Future Fields Commission for the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

With special thanks and appreciation to:
Maan Abu Taleb, Alserkal Arts Foundation (Abdelmonem Alserkal, Vilma Jurkute and Nada Raza), Hoor Al Qasimi, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, Skye Arundathi Thomas, Lina Attallah, Kader Attia, Kadhem Brini, Irene Calderoni, Baris Dogrosuz, Marie-Sophie Dorsch, Lama Fakih, Ahmad Ghossien, Elias Hanna, Charlotte Higgins, Gabriele Horn, Mariam Ibrahim, Peter Kiefer, Nesrine Khodr, Omar Kholeif, Adel Kudsi, Carolin Lauer, Matthias Lilienthal, Samaneh Moafi, Lina Mounzer, Ana Nicolaescu, Nora Razian, Hassan Safsouf, Susan Schuppli, Moe Shoucair, Reem Shadid, Amanda Sroka, Sam Talbot, Sebastien Tiew, Christine Tohme, Aya Yaman, Eyal Weizman, Chris Woods.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an independent investigator or Private Ear. His work focus on sound and linguistics and has been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and as advocacy for organisations such as Amnesty International and Defence for Children International together with fellow researchers from Forensic Architecture.
Abu Hamdan received his PhD in 2017 from Goldsmiths College University of London and in 2021 completed a professorship at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz where he developed his research for AirPressure.info. Past fellowships have been held at the University of Chicago and the New School, New York.

Moritz Ebeling is a graphic designer and programmer from Germany working on digital information archives.