How to Use a Windsock

Updated February 21, 2017

A windsock measures the speed and the direction of the wind. According to the Aeronautics Learning Laboratory for Science Technology and Research (Allstar), windsocks are used at airports to show the current wind conditions and allow pilots to take off and land more accurately. Factories that must measure emissions also use windsocks to determine wind direction and speed, as this effects the distance their emissions travel. Meteorologists use windsocks to measure wind speed and track weather patterns. Some homeowners display decorative windsocks in their yards or from the top of a building to determine the direction of the wind.

Follow the instructions included with your windsock to attach it to a pole, where it will catch the wind. Avoid areas with large trees or buildings that could function as a windbreak.

Use a compass to locate the four cardinal directions: North, South, East and West.

Observe the windsock and note the direction the tail of the windsock is pointing in. This is the direction the wind is blowing. The higher the windsock flies, the stronger the wind.


Decorated windsocks are both attractive and practical. Wind direction refers to the direction the wind is coming from. If wind blows from east to west (causing your windsock to point west), it is referred to as an easterly wind.


Observe safety precautions when mounting the windsock on the pole.

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About the Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.