Wind cones, sometimes known as windsocks or wind direction indicators, help pilots determine wind speed and direction. Knowing these conditions is essential for a safe take-off and landing. If you own an airport, you must maintain the reliability and accuracy of your wind cones to avoid accidents. To do that, here’s a thorough read on how to maintain all your wind direction indicators and know when it’s time to buy replacement wind cones. 

Table of Contents

Four Signs It’s Time to Use Your Replacement Wind Cones

Using your replacement windsocks before your current wind cones become inaccurate is key to avoiding accidents. You can effortlessly gauge your wind cones’ current condition by knowing the signs for wind cone replacement. 

Frayed or Damaged Windsock

Check your windsock for signs of fraying or tearing. A frayed windsock won’t accurately indicate the wind speed or direction, so it is vital to replace it. Fraying and tearing can make it harder or impossible for your wind cone to extend when exposed to 15-knot winds, which is required by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). 

Faded Windsock

Since most windsocks are made out of cotton fabric and nylon, constant exposure to UV, rain, and dust will eventually degrade the colors of your windsock, causing them to fade and thin down. Faded windsocks can make it more difficult to see from a distance. Replace your windsock if the colors start to fade, especially at the base closest to the mast. 

Windsock Not Responsive 

Sometimes, fabric thinning, fraying, and tearing can be spot specific. This condition can make your wind cone appear fine and free from damage. However, you can quickly identify this problem when your windsock does not respond to gentle winds. Per the FAA, your wind cones should move when subjected to wind of 3 knots

Damaged Mast

If your windsock is not responsive but is free from any damage mentioned above, the mast may be the issue. You only need to straighten the mast with a level in most cases. However, if it has severe rust, causing it to lean or bend, then it’s time to replace it.  

Infographic on when to replace your wind cones

How Long Do Wind Cones Last

It’s hard to give a specific time frame for a wind cone’s lifespan because it will depend on its location’s atmospheric conditions. In our experience, however, most wind cones last around six months to two years (sometimes even longer). The harsher the weather conditions, the shorter the lifespan. 

Your wind cone may sustain heavy damage during hurricanes, typhoons, or blizzards, shortening its lifespan even more. Before these events take place, take your windsock down. Strong winds may bend your mast, resulting in more costly repairs. 

Wind cones are vital to ensure safe take-offs and landings. By knowing when to use your replacement wind cones, you can significantly avoid accidents.

How to Keep Your Wind Cones in Good Condition

Windsocks might not last forever, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t steps that you can take to extend their lifespan. Here are four simple ways to help you save money by needing fewer replacement windsocks each year. 

Fix Tangled Windsocks ASAP

Sometimes windsocks get tangled up and can’t move properly. If that happens, untangle them immediately. Doing so prevents tearing and early fraying. 

Inspect Windsock Swivel

Ensure the swivel is adjusted correctly, allowing the windsock to rotate 360 degrees. If you see issues with the rotation, check the swivel. Locked windsocks become unresponsive to wind and may cause tearing when 15-knot winds hit them. 

Inspect Fittings, Bolts, and Screws

Fittings and screws can loosen up with time, particularly after rough weather. Checking these small things will extend your mast’s lifespan for years. 

Wash Your Windsocks

Windsocks can quickly accumulate particles and pollutants, fading their colors and making them less responsive to wind due to the acquired weight. You can wash the windsock with a mild detergent and let it hang to dry. Before washing your windsock, however, please make sure to replace it with a substitute.

Wrapping Up

All Hali-Brite replacement wind cones pass and even exceed FAA standards. We guarantee that they are durable, easy to install, and responsive to even the gentlest breeze. If you need more than wind cones, feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you immediately.