Windsocks are popular with children and can have bright and colorful designs. These windsocks are not particularly functional and are mostly for decoration.
Windsocks typically are used at airports to indicate the direction and strength of the wind to pilots and at chemical plants where there is risk of gaseous leakage. They are sometimes located alongside highways at windy locations.
Wind direction is the opposite of the direction in which the windsock is pointing (note that wind directions are conventionally specified as being the compass point from which the wind originates; so a windsock pointing due north indicates a southerly wind). Wind speed is indicated by the windsock's angle relative to the mounting pole; in low winds, the windsock droops; in high winds it flies horizontally.
Per Transport Canada standards: a 15-knot (28 km/h; 17 mph) wind will fully extend the wind sock, a 10-knot (19 km/h; 12 mph) wind will cause the wind sock to be 5° below the horizontal, a 6-knot (11 km/h; 6.9 mph) wind will cause the wind sock to be 30° below the horizontal.
- ACP 125(F), FAA Advisory Circular 150/5345-27D (PDF 447KB) (PDF), Federal Aviation Administration, 2 June 2004, retrieved 2017-01-07
- Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM) TC AIM - AGA - AERODROMES - 5.9 Wind Direction Indicators (PDF), Transport Canada, 2 June 2004, retrieved 2017-01-07
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