A newly developed technique for determining the angle of attack (AOA) on a rotating blade is used to extract AOAs and airfoil data from measurements obtained during the MEXICO (Model rotor EXperiments in COntrolled conditions) rotor experiment. Detailed surface pressure and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) flow fields at different rotor azimuth positions are examined for determining sectional airfoil data. The AOA is derived locally by determining the local circulation on the blade from pressure data and subtracting the induction of the bound circulation from the local velocity. The derived airfoil data are compared to 2D data from wind tunnel experiments and XFOIL computations. The comparison suggests that the rotor is subject to severe 3D effects originating from the geometry of the rotor, and explains why the Blade Element Momentum technique with 2D airfoil data over-predicts the loading of the rotor. The extraction technique is verified by employing the derived airfoil characteristics as input to computations using the BEM technique and comparing the calculated axial and tangential forces to the measured data. The comparison also demonstrates that the used technique of determining the AOA is a reliable tool to extract airfoil data from experimental data. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.