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This paper presents an intelligent adaptive trajectory tracking controller using fuzzy basis function networks (FBFN) for an autonomous small-scale helicopter. With the on-line FBFN approximation to the vehicle mass and the coupling effect between the force and the moments, the intelligent adaptive controller is systematically synthesized using backstepping technique. This controller is shown to achieve the semi-global ultimate boundedness of the closed-loop helicopter dynamics and accommodate agile flight maneuvers in trajectory tracking. The effectiveness and merit of the proposed method are exemplified by performing one nonlinear simulation and by performance comparison with a well-known controller.