Everyone will have seen a windsock at some point in their lives. These distinctive orange tubes can always be found merrily flapping in the breeze at airfields all over the world. There is more to them than may initially meet the eye.
Many people know that you use windsocks for measuring the speed of the wind but very few people actually know how. Quite simply, the side of a standard windsock will usually be separated into different bands of colours. Each of these bands is worth approximately 3 knots of airspeed velocity.
If the windsock can then be seen as being inflated by two of its sections, anyone glancing in its direction could estimate that the windspeed is approximately 6 knots. There is also usually an anemometer nearby that is able to record more accurate readings.
Windsocks can not only be found at airfields but in a plethora of other locations. One may encounter a windsock on a high mountain road where a motorist needs to know how fast the wind is going to know if it is safe to continue on their journey or whether they should stop.
You might also find a windsock beside a golf course. Professional golfers use them to judge both how fast the wind is going and in which direction it is blowing. They can then use this information to alter the shot. In a championship game, this crucial piece of information may mean the difference between a win and narrowly losing to a competitor.
The final place you may find a windsock is beside a chemical plant. Since this is a high-risk location where you want to contain any potential gas leaks, you must make sure that there is something to detect when the gas is escaping. Not only will the windsock be able to show that gas is escaping as it inflates, it will show the rate of escape based on how inflated it is and in what direction it is going. This may be valuable information to know if it is drifting towards a residential area.
It is common to pass a windsock and see the ends all weathered and flapping in the breeze. However, they are actually incredibly robust and durable pieces of equipment and the correct purchase will mean that yours will last for years.
The windsock pole masts are frequently made from heavy-duty materials like steel or aluminium and may last long beyond the life of the actual windsock. In addition to permanent poles, you can also get retractable poles so you can set up your windsock wherever you may need it.
The windsock itself is also made from an extremely durable blend of polyester. It is designed to withstand some extremely heavy winds and you can even buy very strong ones for uses in places like oil rigs where there is likely to be frequent poor weather. They are designed to resist anything the British weather throws at them!