Look it up!

A multi-player game for pilots

Version 1.2 - Updated 8-17-2022

Created by Jim Pitman, CFI/DPE

The Premise

A pilot’s ability to quickly find needed information is a skill that must be learned and practiced. 

The Game

Look it up! is a fun way to practice looking up practical aviation-related information while learning useful techniques that improve accuracy and efficiency.

The game involves multiple rounds, with each round having one winner. A player wins the round by being the first to look up the correct answer in an official source document.

Number of Players

Ideal: 5 to 10
Minimum: 3
Maximum: 12
The game may be played with more than 12 pilots, but it becomes difficult to determine the winner of each round.

How it Works

  1. A scorekeeper is selected.
  2. To start the game, one player is selected to be the Examiner.
  3. The Examiner asks a question.
  4. The player that finds the correct answer first raises their hand and shouts, “Got it!”
  5. The Examiner determines the winner by identifying which player found the answer first and checks to ensure an official source document was used.
  6. The winner then explains the technique/procedure they used to find the answer. This step is a critical component of the game. DO NOT SKIP IT.
  7. The scorekeeper records the win.
  8. The winner then becomes the Examiner for the next round.
  9. There is no set number of rounds and players may join/leave in the middle of the game as desired.

The Questions

The questions asked by the Examiner should not be vague or complicated (see definitions of Practical Knowledge and Gee Whiz below). The best questions:

  • Are related to practical (real-world) topics/concepts.
  • Are easy to understand.
  • Require players to search in documents they should be familiar with, but may not have looked at recently.

Pilots at flight academies, universities, corporate flight departments, and airlines should ask specific questions related to their own aircraft, standard operating procedures, and training curriculum.

Future versions of the game may include pre-made lists of questions and possibly even an app that will randomly generate a question for the Examiner to use. Until then, here are a few resources to help generate questions:

The Rules

  1. Each player must look up their own answers.
  2. Printed books/references and electronic devices are all acceptable (the format used in daily operations is what’s recommended for the game).
  3. Search engines may be used, but the final answer must be found in an official source document. Examples include:
    • All published FAA documents.
    • Published documents from NOAA, The National Weather Service, etc.
    • Aircraft manufacturer publications (POHs, checklists, etc.)
    • Approved company manuals and documents.
  4. If two or more players raise their hands and shout “Got it!” at the same time, and have a good answer in an official source document, the Examiner will conduct a tie-breaker round with a new question to determine the final winner.

Important Things to Keep in Mind

  1. There is a spectrum between “Gee Whiz” and “Practical Knowledge.”
    • Gee Whiz is information that might be fun and interesting, but it’s not something that pilots really need to know to effectively do their job or improve safety.
    • Practical Knowledge is information that pilots need to know to effectively do their job and/or improve safety.
    • The game works best when questions stay focused on practical knowledge.
  2. Knowing the correct answer may help players find the reference faster, but having the answer memorized is not the objective of this game. The objective is to look it up the fastest and then teach the other players how you did it.
  3. Correct answers may be found in several different official source documents. All are valid and count equally (future versions of the game may provide higher points for answers found in “more official” documents).
  4. Sometimes the winner will just get lucky. This is a game of skill, but there is also an element of chance.
  5. The overall goal is to have fun while learning new techniques for effectively looking up practical information.


This game is a work in progress. Please play it a few times with different pilots and then send your suggestions to Jim.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

And the best part about Look it up!...

Check out other valuable free resources at: flywithjim.com/checkride-preparation