The Quaal Windsock – Sundance, Wyoming - Atlas Obscura

Sundance, Wyoming

The Quaal Windsock

An antique Beechcraft airplane serves as a giant windsock for people driving through the blustery open country of eastern Wyoming. 

What do you do with an old aircraft that isn’t quite worth fixing up, but you don’t want it to just sit around corroding into dust either? If you are Mick and Jean Quaal, you opt to turn it into a whimsical windsock.

All it took was a flatbed truck, a crane, and several people guiding the plane with ropes to place the bright yellow vintage aircraft at the top of a 70-foot pole along I-90 in eastern Wyoming. (There’s even a YouTube video of the lift.)

The early-1950s Beechcraft Twin Bonanza plane makes for a fantastic twist on the traditional windsock, which more typically takes the form of a tube-shaped cloth fastened to a pole to show what direction the wind is blowing. They’re a fairly common sight in windy Wyoming, where the state’s big open spaces at high altitudes create the perfect geography for some of the strongest gusts in the country.

The Beechcraft airplane needed $200,000 of restoration to get it flying again, which was just too much money to put into the old plane. Instead, thanks to a little creativity, it is enjoying a second life as the largest windsock in the area. The aircraft-turned-wind vane has a 45-foot wingspan, a fuselage length of about 30 feet, and spins around on the giant pole to show the direction of the wind. If you watch carefully, you can see the propellers turn. But please, exit the highway first. 

Know Before You Go

The windsock is on the side of US-14, just outside Sundance, Wyoming. Take exit 199 off I-90. 

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