Use of Windsocks for Airports and Pilots

Use of Windsocks for Airports and Pilots

What is an Airport Windsock?

A windsock flag or a windcone, as it can be known, is a tunnel-like fabric cone that resembles a sock. It is attached to a circular frame, mounted on a pole. The windsock rotates 360 degrees as the wind pushes through it, inflating it and forcing it into a particular direction. It is similar to a flag because it flaps in the wind but a windsock is more useful because it can tell you the windspeed and wind direction in the area which it is mounted. An airport windsock or aviation windsock is a specially-made, striped, wind cone. Depending on how many stripes are inflated, you can get a very strong understanding of the windspeed on the ground.

This is very useful information for lots of different types of people. One of which, is a pilot. Windsocks are usually placed next to the airstrip. It gives pilots a quick reference to the windspeed and wind direction so they have a good idea of impacting variables for their flights both at take off and landing.

Airports usually have aviation windsocks. They are striped red and white or striped orange and white. Airports might also just have standard orange windsocksin place as well. The striped aviation windsocks are far more common as they give you additional information about windspeed that a standard orange windcone may not.

What Do the Stripes on a Windsock Tell You?

The stripes will tell you the approximate wind speed. When you look to see how much of the windsock is inflated, you can get a general idea of the wind speed. Check out this article for more info on how to read a windsock.

Why Do Airstrips Need to have Windsocks?

Airports are required to maintain wind cones and other basic navigational aids on the ground as a quick reference for pilots.

There are two standard sizes of windsocks commonly used at airports.

18” x 96’

36” x 144’

Both sizes should be designed in a way to allow the wind cone to fully inflate when the wind is at 15 knots or 17mph.

Windsocks are often lit using a special windsock lighting system. This allows the windsock to be illuminated and visible as a reference for pilots landing and taking off at night.

Custom Windsock for My Private Airstrip

Aviation Windsocks are also commonly used at private airstrips or smaller private airports. They serve the same purpose they would at a larger airport. They give the pilot a quick visual reference as to the conditions of windspeed and wind direction on the ground outside of the plane. We often get requests from citizens who have private hangers or a small air strip on their property for custom windsocks that display their family name or the name of their plane. Interested in making a custom aviation windsock for your farm or ranch’s family airstrip? Contact us for a quote or for customer service at 1-833-786-1035 or and we would be happy to help you!

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash