Sliding Mode Control (SMC) plays a prominent role in dealing with matched uncertainties. In classical SMC design, the sliding surface (SS) is crucial to the guarantee for the stability and desired performance, especially if the system is nonlinear. A possible way to fulfill these desired performances for nonlinear systems is to use State Dependent Riccati Equation (SDRE) method, enabling SS to be designed even optimally. However, SDRE may suffer an inherent stability problem as well as a computational burden. To overcome these issues, in a recent study, a new SDRE method has been proposed. Therefore, this study takes advantages of the advanced SDRE method in designing a sub-optimal SS and also provides some comparative results with the conventional one to establish the feasibility of the proposed SDRE-based SMC control architecture experimentally. Experiments are conducted by using a 3-DOF helicopter platform and the results reveal that the proposed SDRE-based SMC is able to produce smoother SS than the conventional counterpart. Copyright (C) 2020 The Authors.