We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Wind Cone?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A wind cone is a device that provides a visual indication of wind direction and relative wind speed. These devices are installed at airports to provide pilots with information about conditions on the ground so that they can exercise appropriate precautions when landing. In addition, wind cones can be placed along high wind areas of a freeway to warn drivers when winds are high, and they can be used at facilities like chemical plants and refineries where wind direction and speed may be important to know about.

The wind cone consists of a tube of lightweight fabric mounted on a pole. The tube is able to swivel freely all the way around the pole so that it can move as the wind changes direction. A light breeze will lift the tube and partially fill it with air, causing it to project from the pole while the end of the tube hangs down. As the wind picks up, the part of the tube that droops down will gradually fill up, extending more and more of the tube. In high winds, the entire wind cone will be fully extended at a 90 degree angle from the pole.

Also known as a windsock, a wind cone is usually bright so that it will be highly visible. A lighted wind cone can be used at night in airports where pilots make night landings. Several wind cones will be scattered around a facility so that people can readily gather information about wind direction and wind speed when they are coming in for a landing.

Reading a wind cone is relatively easy. The wind is coming from the opposite direction that the wind cone is pointing in. For example, if a wind cone is pointing due East, it means that the wind is coming from the West. If the wind cone is partially extended, it means that air speed is relatively low. The more extended the cone, the higher the wind. Many cones are marked with rings so that people can clearly see how much of the cone is extended at any given time.

Wind cones manufactured to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards are fully extended in winds that exceed 17 miles per hour (28 kilometers per hour or 15 knots). Some people use an anemometer, a device that measures wind speed, to take measurements when wind cones are at various stages of extension in order to learn which speed each stage corresponds to.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By backdraft — On Feb 03, 2012

A friend of mine had an incredibly long wind sock. Honsetly, this thing was probably 15 feet long.

It was mounted on top of his garage and it lay limply down the side. It would only fully inflate when there was a very strong wind, usually as part of a storm.

But when it did inflate it looked incredible. Because here is the kicker, it was designed to look like a dragon. So when the wind was raging he had a 15 foot dragon blowing across his backyard almost as if the beat had conjured up the storm himself.

By ZsaZsa56 — On Feb 02, 2012

There is a wind cone on the top of my son's school. For years when we were driving up he would point it out. From a very early age he has been good with the cardinal directions, he is just one of those people who seems to have an innate sense.

So when we would pull up he would look at the sock and yell out west or south, whichever direction the wind was blowing in. I would check it against the compass in the car and he was almost always right.

By anon161315 — On Mar 19, 2011

what about wind cones, according to ICAO?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.