Determining the wind direction is not an easy task. The Bureau of Meteorology employs public servants and pays them a good salary to find an answer to this question using expensive electronic and mechanical equipment.
In the field we don’t have this option, so we have to improvise. Here are some well-proven ways to achieve this task:
1. Ask a local
Since there are always local variations in wind speed and directions, it is a good idea to refer to the invaluable knowledge of local residents. If the airfield inhabitant isn’t willing to share the wisdom, you can look for signs, such as: in which direction is the blue-tagged ear pointing?
2. Discuss the situation amongst fellow flyers.
Within any group, there will be experts on any subject. In some cases, however, the experts are of different opinion and the discussions can last for several hours.
3. Trust your instinct
Finally the discussions are bearing fruit and someone will point out the wind direction.
4. The wet finger technique
Wet your finger with saliva, your own, of course, and hold it into the air. After a short while you stick it into your mouth and check which side tastes salty. This will tell you where the sea breeze is coming from. If there is no sea breeze, the windward side of the finger will taste like bull dust and the wind comes from the mainland (north-westerly).
5. The smell check
Ensure you feed your dog well and take him with you to the flying field. Within a short time, the dog will have the need to empty the bowel. To find the wind direction, walk around the dog in a circle and mark the place where it smells the worst. Draw a line, in your mind, of course, from this position towards the doggy poo, and you have the wind direction.
Since the wind can change over time, you can also step into the poo and ask a fellow flyer to perform the same check at a later stage.
6. The Tiger Woods method
Pick up some grass and throw it into the air and note into which direction the grass floats.
Warning: this works only with lush green golf course grass. You are advised to carry a bag of such grass with you at all times.
7. The windsock method
Well, some clubs take the easy way out and install a windsock. This is equivalent to cheating. However, if the facility is there, you may as well use it.