What is a windsock?

A windsock, as we know it today, is a conically shaped tube made of woven textile which is used to measure both wind direction and speed.

How is a windsock mounted?

They are mounted on a special installation. These usually consist of a metal mast made of aluminum or galvanized steel. The mast is placed on a metal foundation so that it can withstand high wind speeds. A metal basket (or so called swivel frame) is placed on top of the mast, which can rotate 180 degrees horizontally. The windsock is attached to this, so that it can move freely depending on where the wind comes from.

Depending on the application, an installation can be simple or expanded. For example, lighting can be placed on the installation if it’s supposed to be visible at night. The mast can also be made tiltable, so that the bag can be replaced more easily.

A red and white striped windsock at an airport runway

What’s the purpose of a windsock?

Windsocks are used in various industries. The goal is to give staff or other attendees a quick indication of where the wind is coming from and how hard the wind is blowing. The most commonly used location next to the runway or helipad at an airport. This allows pilots to quickly estimate the wind direction and speed before take off.

But they’re also used in factories or industrial area’s where hazardous gases or substances can be released. In the event of an emergency, attendees can quickly estimate which way the hazardous substances are being blown, in order to determine the best possible escape route.

What does the color of a windsock mean?

The red / white striped is the most famous version that you’ll often see alongside of the road. Yet many different colors are used internationally, such as orange (striped), green, blue and completely orange. In general, the colors are chosen in such a way that the entire installation is clearly visible in contrast with the background. Almost no blue windbags are used in the maritime world. But at airports where there’s a lot of grass around the runway, green windsocks will hardly ever be used.

Are windsocks calibrated?

Brand new windsocks are produced according to the guidelines of the ICAO. This means that all current models are calibrated to be fully inflated at wind speeds of 15 knots or more.

What are the windsock speed charts?

The stripes on a windsock are not only chosen to be visible from a great distance. If a stripe is “blown up” by the wind, you can use it to read the current windspeed.

  1. 3 knots
  2. 6 knots
  3. 9 knots
  4. 12 knots
  5. 15 knots or more

Windsock suppliers

For the most part, the ideal place to buy a windsock or complete installation is from an international specialist. For example, Holland Aviation is an expert in the manufacturing and international delivery of windsocks and installations. This way, you’re always assured of a quality product, produced in accordance with the common rules and regulations. View our selection of windbags to find a suitable windsock for your own needs.

By now, you should be a real windsock expert! Do you still have questions? You can always contact one of our experts. Contact us and we will be happy to help you on your way!