Unmanned small autonomous helicopters can perform aggressive maneuvers that will be useful for operations in challenging conditions. This paper presents an analysis of the pilot's execution of aggressive maneuvers from flight test data, collected on an instrumented small-scale acrobatic helicopter. A full-envelope nonlinear dynamic model of the helicopter was developed and validated for aggressive maneuvering. This model was used as pan of the hardware-in-the-loop simulation environment to demonstrate intuitive control strategies that were determined from the analysis of flight data. This insight will be helpful in determining closed-loop strategies for autonomous aggressive maneuvering on MIT's platform. © 2001 Sage Publications.