Many may not be familiar with the term ‘windsocks’, and even more might be bewildered as to what exactly these textile, conical tubes are for despite being constant fixtures in various facilities and airports. As antiquated and anachronistic as they might seem in today’s modern, digital age however they serve very important functions of not just determining the direction of the wind but calculating its speed also which can be quite invaluable, particularly in relation to safety.
Uses and importance
By being able to indicate both the direction and speed of the wind, windsocks are more commonly used by many airports to help the pilots better navigate their respective aircraft through the area. It is especially important in aviation due to the fact that even a simple miscalculation in the wind orientation or velocity can spell disaster for those aboard the plane so it comes as no surprise that windsock manufacturers in the UK are so important.
Apart from its use in aviation, chemical plants also use windsocks. You might ask yourself why these facilities would ever need them, and the answer is simple: it helps minimise the environmental hazards. In the case of a toxic leakage, workers will be able to tell the speed and direction in which it is likely to spread and act accordingly to ensure safety for themselves as well as the areas in which it may likely end up.
Windsocks are also often used in certain competitive and recreational activities such as golf and shooting sports. By reading the windsocks correctly, you’ll be able to accurately aim your shot as they’ll give you a better idea of the point of the target before taking the shot.
In spite of their antiquated design or because of it, reading windsocks isn’t as complicated as it may originally seem. In fact, being able to tell the direction of the wind boils down to the direction where the windsock is currently facing. Calculating the speed of the wind is a different matter, however. Usually, a functioning windsock in full extension will mean a wind of approximately 15 knots or 17 miles an hour, but a breeze of 3 knots may be enough to move it.
The future of windsocks
It is highly unlikely that windsocks will be replaced anytime soon, even with the rapid pace at which technology continues to evolve. This comes with good reason of course – the purpose that it serves is just too important to leave in the hands of their electronic equivalents. The old-fashioned design of a windsock will naturally minimise the chances of failure after all.
From airports to chemical facilities and even sports, we cannot underestimate the importance that windsocks have. Despite possessing the aesthetics that make them look far better suited to an earlier age, windsocks will remain just as important in our era today as they were in the past.