Last Modified:   20051104.16:30   by RTSmith

Index of Secondary Text Terms Figure 3.1: Network Map of Wind-related Concepts

Wind Sock

A wind sock is a weather instrument used to determine wind direction and to estimate wind speed.  A wind sock may alternatively be referred to as an air sleeve, an air sock, a wind cone, or a wind sleeve.  Wind socks are often associated with and can be found at airports.  But they can also be seen in a wide variety of other locations.  According to, the color of an airstrip's wind sock provides information (in Canada at least) to aircraft pilots.  A two-colored wind sock is typically used at licensed runways and solid orange wind socks are usually displayed at unlicensed runways.   You can make your own wind sock -- see the links near the bottom of this page for instructions for building a variety of wind socks.

While some sources credit the Japanese with the invention of wind socks, Brian Cosgrove (on page 43 of the 1991/2000 DK Eyewitness book Weather, ISBN: 0-7894-5782-2) writes that the Chinese flew kites in the wind at least as far back as 500 B.C.  They made kites in a variety of shapes and sizes, including some that were shaped like socks (albeit with a hole at the toe end).  These were probably the earliest version of a wind sock.

From an educational perspective, a  wind sock is one of the three "tools" with which elementary school students need to become familiar for the purpose of describing weather according to elementary science benchmark V.3.e.1 of the Michigan Curriculum Framework (2000).  The other two tools are a thermometer and a rain gauge.

[ Click here to see the complete text of the V.3.e.1 elementary science benchmark. ]

Wind socks can be found in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and locations.  These links provide a small collection of images of various wind socks:

Here are some more links to web pages dealing with wind socks:


Return to the top of this page Index of Secondary Text Terms Network Map of Wind-related Concepts

This page was created by R. Timothy Smith, when he was an overworked, underpaid Academic Specialist with the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education at Michigan State University (1993-2001).