Premium windsock for paragliding and hang gliding
Price includes FREE shipping to continental U.S. addresses
- $40 windsock only (why is this windsock better than all others?)
- $145 windsock kit includes 20' Crappie pole, 1 1/2" x 3' PVC pipe, and 3/4 x 30" steel stake
Please be patient as there can be 7-14 days before we can ship these custom handmade windsocks out.
- Sock opening is reinforced with a sewn-in piece of polyethylene tubing that keeps the round shape of the sock for its entire useful life – a feature that is unique to the Southwest Airsports windsock and not found in any other windsock of this type.
- Overall length approximately 15'
- Visibility of (1) mile or more – pilots can safely setup for landing (especially hang gliders) much further away than with ordinary windsocks
- Very sensitive to wind speed and direction – will start to move at less than 1 MPH
- Greatly assists landing setup at or near dusk when ordinary windsocks are hard to see
- Typical life 5-7 years depending on sun exposure, average wind velocity, and handling.
- The windsock can be safely struck by gliders without being damaged (usually). The windsock assembly will fall down flat on the ground and, because of the Crappie pole, will have lots of give in any direction. The design of this windsock system is safer to hit than any permanent windsock that has a solid (usually metal) shaft.
- 40D ripstop & waterproof fabric i.e., tent fabric. No other sock uses this quality of fabric.
- Hand made by Marilyn in the U.S.A. at our shop.
THIS IS *NOT* A PERMANENT WINDSOCK. ALWAYS TAKE IT DOWN AFTER USE. DO NOT STORE THE WINDSOCK IN A DAMP LOCATION, ESPECIALLY NEXT TO THE STEEL STAKE.
NOTE: THE ORANGE COLOR OF THE SOCK MAY VARY FROM THE PHOTOS HERE, DEPENDING ON OUR FABRIC SUPPLIER.
Marilyn at work in her shop – working on a 1,000' streamer for an air show
Accessories needed for the windsock (do it yourself)
The Crappie pole used must be as thin as possible so the sock will move in the slightest breeze and not touch the pole.
16' Crappie fishing pole – The pole is delicate and is usually the first part to fail so using the 16' pole instead of the more
expensive 20' cuts down on replacement costs over the long haul. It requires extra care not to break off the tip
or otherwise mangle it. The pole needs a split piece of 1" vinyl tubing attached about 1' up from the base
with a couple of nylon zip ties to keep it from sliding down the PVC pipe (see this photo).
1 1/4" x 6' PVC schedule 40 pipe is needed for most 16' poles. Longer pieces are better but may not fit in a car or truck bed.
3/4 x 30" steel concrete form stake (best) with an optional 1/4" bolt
installed 12" from top (to increase the height of the PVC pipe) OR a 5/8 x 3' piece of rebar. A pointed stake goes
into the ground much easier. If you do use rebar, grind a point on it. The stake can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot.
- Option #2 20' Crappie fishing pole
1 1/2" x 3' PVC – this diameter pipe will fit most 20' Crappie poles.
- 3/4" x 30"-36" steel concrete form stake OR a 5/8" x 3' piece of rebar. A pointed stake goes into the ground much easier. If you use rebar, grind a point on it. The stake can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot.
If the end tip of the Crappie pole breaks, heat from a flame can be used to easily remove the brass eyelet from the broken piece of pole. It can then be reattached with 5-minute epoxy cement to the remaining tip after it has been sanded to a taper so that it will fit the eyelet. I have broken the tip off and reattached it successfully more than once. Use a Dremel tool with a grinding wheel to taper the pole tip for reattachment. A file also works but will take longer.
Tears in the fabric can be easily repaired (to stop fraying) by a few drops of Super-Glue.
The fishing line swivel can be easily replaced without cutting the supporting lines.
Un-waxed dental floss tightly wrapped a few dozen times around the opening of weaker/broken sections and then soaked with Super-Glue is a permanent and effective fix.
If the sock fails from a manufacturing defect such as a reinforcing tube failure or a seam failure during its useful life, please send it back to us and we will fix it at no charge. Unfortunately, we cannot warrant these socks if they have been misused or left out in the sun. The Crappie Pole has no warranty because it is so easy to damage.
- In order to work properly, the windsock must be suspended above the ground at least 20', the higher the better. If a lesser distance is used, the Crappie pole will bend over and the sock will touch the ground, brush, or tall grass and give a false velocity and direction indication, especially if seen from far away.
- Windsock assembly must be clear of obstacles for a radius of at least 20' or the sock may get tangled.
- Locate the windsock as close as possible to the middle of the LZ. Putting it near any tall object will defeat the purpose of this ultra-sensitive anemometer.
- If you have a lot of traffic or the area is subject to light and variable winds, multiple windsocks near the corners of the LZ are
- DO NOT STORE THE WINDSOCK IN THE SUN OR IN A MOIST ENVIRONMENT. DO NOT LEAVE THE STAKE IN THE GROUND TO BECOME AN INVISBLE HAZARD
- The ground stake should be plumb and set into the ground just enough so that it does not fall over from a wind gust. If the stake is set too far into the ground the
PVC pipe or the Crappie pole might break if struck by a glider.
- When extending the Crappie Pole to full length, pull on the telescoping sections gently. If the sections are not firm, the pole may later collapse. If you pull too hard
on the sections, they will come RIGHT OUT and you will have to completely disassemble the pole.
- When putting the windsock away, take the Crappie pole out of the PVC pipe before collapsing it. Keeping the pole vertical, firmly rest the butt of the pole on
the ground then twist the opposing sections gently starting at the section closest to the base. Let the sections slide gently down into the pole base. REMEMBER: THE WALLS
OF THE POLE ARE DELICATE. They must be so in order for the windsock to be as sensitive as it is. NEVER LET ANYONE JAMB THE POLE SECTIONS TOGETHER. This is the surest
way to ruin the Crappie pole. We recommend that ONLY pilots or knowledgeable people setup and dismantle the sock. It is
- It is unnecessary to unhook the windsock from the Crappie pole. However, it does make the end of the pole easier to be damaged when it is stored as a single piece.
How the windsock functions
The Southwest Airsports windsock is ultra sensitive to the slightest breeze. The very thin Crappie pole bends slightly from the weight of the sock. This ensures that the sock is always hanging and not touching the pole and that the sock and pole are unlikely to become tangled together.
Testimonial from a hang glider pilot,
I'm a HG and flew the Guads over President's day with some folks from CO who had one of your windsocks... I noticed how easy it was to see from the air and what a good wind speed indicator it was. Looks like a really good product!
In the photo below, it shows a wind speed of about 2-3 MPH. Landing into the wind vs. landing downwind would result in a 6 mph difference in ground speed which would be 18 MPH vs. 24 MPH. As the winds increase the difference gets much greater. A 10 MPH wind yields a difference of 20 MPH between landing into the wind and landing downwind. No other type of windsock can provide the information a pilot needs from a mile away that allows the best possible setup information for a comfortable landing with minimum ground speed. This is especially important for hang gliding where setting up as far away as possible is not only a matter of comfort, but also of safety. PPG pilots should always land into the wind due to the extra weight of the paramotor which makes staying on your feet more difficult, especially in snow or if the ground is wet.
If the winds increase, the windsock will clearly indicate the speed. In the photo below, winds are approximately 12 mph and the windsock is "angry" (flapping and making noise). As winds increase, the sock will straighten out completely and make more noise. It takes time for pilots to get to know this sock and to gauge the wind speed precisely.
The sock can be raised another foot by installing a 1/4" bolt in the stake about 10" from the end.
If the 16' Crappie pole is used, it should have the modifications done per the photo below.
Marilyn's reinforced sock opening – this is the most important difference between her windsock and all others. It is flexible tubing so the opening can be bent/crushed. It will recover it's natural shape if left in a warm place for a while. Note: the orange color of the sock may vary from the photos here depending on our fabric supplier.
Below is a photo of the flimsy reinforcing material found in Chinese-made imports. The material is flat so that the sock and reinforcing loop can be sewn at the same time. While this makes the sock 2-3 times faster to make, the sock opening will collapse after a short time, usually a few weeks of occasional use. The sock then becomes a streamer that may be less visible, depending on the pilot's angle of vision to the sock. The sock also loses its ability to precisely show wind speed.
Here is a typical Chinese-made windsock and what happens after a short time – and why Marilyn started making the Southwest Airsports® sock for hang gliding and paragliding.
Your best buy is Marilyn's windsock. Order one today!