NLAD Cheetah helps aircraft return to the air in record time

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (September 17, 2015) – NLA Diagnostics (NLAD) has announced that its newest non-destructive tester is making history in improving military and aerospace maintenance operations. The NLAD Cheetah™ testing device enables routine inspections of composite materials in a fraction of the time needed for manual tap testing. Such technological efficiency means those responsible for keeping planes and helicopters airborne can accurately and easily test for damage right in the field, minimizing downtime incurred in preparing vulnerable components for lab testing.

How it works

The hand-held, easily deployed NLAD Cheetah greatly reduces aircraft downtime by enhancing routine inspection procedures. Even more vital, it can provide rapid, in-the-field “first aid” assessment testing in cases of suspected impact damage from bird strikes, overheating, lightning and other physical trauma.  The Cheetah device gives immediate and accurate feedback as to whether disbondings, delamination or degradation has occurred in rotary wings, fuselages and other structures made of today’s advanced composite materials. At a time when more and more flight-critical components are made of composites, the NLAD Cheetah is poised to make a major impact on aviation operations far into the future.

The time-consuming old way

For decades, aircraft parts suspected of damage often had to be fully disassembled and transported to a soundproof testing room. With structures such as jet engine nacelles, parts had to be removed to test composite material on both inside and outside surfaces.

The fast new way

Today the NLAD Cheetah can test both far-side and near-side laminates and bonds from the near-side surface, all right in the field using Impact Resonance Testing. As NLAD’s Rapid Electro-Mechanical Impact Hammer (REMIH) taps the composite material’s surface, vibrations are recorded by an acoustic broadband receiver and analyzed to determine the integrity of the material. Such exacting technology enables detection of a disbond on either side of a composite structure without disassembling it.

Saving labor and adding speed

The NLAD Cheetah is simple to operate, so teaching untrained personnel to use it is quick and easy. Suspected damage can be rapidly quantified, saving time and money by eliminating premature or unnecessary repairs often performed following subjective, manual tap testing.  

Unlike other testing devices that are complicated to operate, the NLAD Cheetah is as simple to use as a typical smart phone app. It delivers results multiple times faster than the time-consuming method of tap testing, responding in real-time with a green, yellow or red light to indicate material condition as pass, intermediate or fail.  With the NLAD Cheetah in hand, teams of testers can operate at peak efficiency.

About NLA Diagnostics

NLA Diagnostics, a veteran-owned enterprise, was created to license and develop technology for the application of non-linear acoustic sound waves and resonance spectra analysis to identify stresses, defects and cracks in aircraft composite components and concrete. Its research and development unit focused on accelerating the development of resonance technology and expanding its non-linear capabilities was opened in 2010. Learn more about how NLA technology for aerospace and other industries is making the future stronger and safer for all of us. More at

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