The dynamic responses of a thermo-shielding panel forced by unsteady aerodynamic loads and a classical Duffing oscillator are investigated to detect structural damage. A nonlinear aeroelastic model is obtained for the panel by using third-order piston theory to model the unsteady supersonic flow, which interacts with the panel. To identify damage, we analyse the morphology (deformation and movement) of the attractor of the dynamics of the aeroelastic system and the Duffing oscillator. Damages of various locations, extents and levels are shown to be revealed by the attractor-based analysis. For the panel, the type of damage considered is a local reduction in the bending stiffness. For the Duffing oscillator, variations in the linear and nonlinear stiffnesses and damping are considered as damage. Present studies of such problems are based on linear theories. In contrast, the presented approach using nonlinear dynamics has the potential of enhancing accuracy and sensitivity of detection.