This article describes the application of an incompressible Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes solver to several upwind cases from the NREL/NASA Ames wind tunnel tests. In connection with the NREL blind code comparison the present results showed the overall best agreement with experimental measurements. Based on this, it is of great interest to demonstrate the quality that can be obtained in 3D CFD rotor computations. All six cases we present have 0° yaw angle and 3° tip pitch angle. All computations are performed as rotor-only computations, excluding the tower and nacelle. In this article we compare computed results and measurements in the form of shaft torque, flap and edge moments, aerodynamic coefficients and pressure distributions as a function of wind speed. The spanwise force distributions are compared with measurements for all wind speeds, along with the pressure distributions at five spanwise positions. Finally, we show how 3D CFD computations can be used to extract information about three-dimensional aerodynamic effects. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.