Wind Sock Facts

Wind Sock Facts
A wind sock is a tool used to determine the direction as well as the strength of wind. It looks similar to a giant sock - which is where the name originated. Wind socks are commonly found at airports, especially on the runway to indicate the wind direction and velocity where this information can have a direct impact on pilot decisions. Chemical plants also use wind socks to help reduce the risk of exposure of dangerous toxins to the environment. Some wind socks are not very functional - especially those made for children when color and design is more important for play than usefulness.
Interesting Wind Sock Facts:
A wind sock signals the direction of the wind. If the wind sock is pointing north then the direction of the wind is actually south. Wind direction is the opposite of the direction the wind sock is pointed.
Wind speed is determined by the angle of the wind sock to its mounting pole as the wind blows through it. The higher the wind sock is in the air the higher the wind speed. The lower the wind sock is in the air the lower the wind speed.
The FAA has set standards for using a wind sock to determine wind speed. According the FAA the wind sock will be fully extended in a 17 mile per hour wind. The FAA also states that the wind must be blowing at 3.5 miles per hour in order to properly determine wind direction.
Transport Canada also has set standards for wind sock use, with 17 miles per hour fully extending the wind sock.
Many wind socks at airports are lighted to allow for proper viewing at night. This can be done with flood lights or by ensuring the light shines inside the wind sock to light it up.
Most wind socks today are made of nylon which is very lightweight and respond quickly and easily to even slight winds. Nylon has other benefits as well including the fact that it does not crack or peel like many other materials would in the same conditions. Nylon is also resistant to mildew.
Wind socks are often seen along highways to alert the drivers of high vehicles of wind direction and speed which should alter the driver's speed and way they handle the vehicle for safety.
One of the benefits of a wind sock is that it provides real time information about wind speed and direction just by observing it in action.
Wind socks can provide fast information in an emergency situation such as a chemical spill or gas leak to help emergency services determine proper action to take.
Some wind socks are small and easily installed while others require a professional to ensure they are mounted properly for accuracy and functionality.
Wind socks can be seen in use at seaports, highways, in mountainous regions, at chemical plants, at all sizes of airports, and as decoration on people's homes.
Most wind socks are made with very bright colors to ensure they are highly visible to those who need to see them.

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