Freedom. Innovation. Legacy. They're not just words -- they are what aviation means for Michael and Lisa MacFadden, their two sons, and their choice to take delivery of a brand new airplane: the Diamond DA62.
"It's not just about having a plane and being able to go from point A to point B," Michael said. We were sitting down at the LifeStyle Aviation headquarters at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. It was the day they arrived to pick up their airplane and as luck would have it, the sky was clear and blue — a perfect day for flying.
"This is freedom for us." Michael continued. "We want to be able to jump in the plane, throw some bags in there, load up as much fuel as we need, and be able to go several hundred nautical miles. And with all the options, including TKS, onboard weather radar and FADEC control, the DA62 really has a lot of great capabilities that make flying the kind of missions that we do easy."
Michael, a commercial pilot, and his wife Lisa who recently earned her multi-engine rating, first demoed the DA62 at LifeStyle Aviation in 2022.
"It's the safest I've ever felt in a GA airplane," Lisa said. "The DA62 is very responsive, it does what you tell it to do, and it's really easy to fly."
For Michael, who grew up flying six-pack steam gauge airplanes, the technology and automation of Diamond Aircraft is what sets it apart from all the rest.
"It's really interesting over the 20ish years that I've been flying, just to see the amazing advancements in general aviation technology," Michael continued. "To see the G1000 NXi and all the automations in the DA62 is really awesome, both from an aviation standpoint but also from a feat of engineering standpoint."
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Lisa & Michael's NEW Delivery of the Diamond DA62
Lisa's godfather was a huge factor in introducing aviation to the MacFadden family. "He really showed us the joy that flying could bring into your life," Michael said. "Unfortunately, he passed away in November of 2015, and towards the end, he was not able to fly solo anymore. So throughout the end of that, I was able to actually fly with him and keep him in the air as long as possible, and that meant a lot to us."
"When he finally did pass away, his body was cremated, and I was able to take his remains up over the Pacific Ocean in his airplane and drop them out over the Pacific Ocean while his family and friends watched. Those are the kinds of experiences that are inexorably linked with aviation for our family and things that we will always remember and cherish."
Lisa and Michael knew then — they wanted to build those kinds of memories for their children going forward. And for aviation to be part of their children's lives, there was one logical next step — getting in touch with LifeStyle Aviation.
"Lifestyle has been really great," Michael said. "They helped us pick the right plane for the mission, and they walked us through the process to make sure we knew what we were getting into and that it was really appropriate for us."
"I've only had my multi for about 6 months," Lisa added. "And the LifeStyle CFI made me feel super confident. He gave me a lot of great instruction, a lot of great tips, really reinforced the learning that I had."
And what would the MacFaddens say to someone who is looking to purchase an airplane?
"If somebody were considering buying an aircraft and was maybe on the fence on whether they should do it or not, I would say the first thing to do is come down and visit Lifestyle Aviation." Michael responded. "They'll put you in the plane, they might put you in multiple planes if you're considering different options, and they have a ton of experience. LifeStyle can really help you know fit you to the right aircraft."
"Flying can be freedom, it gives you the ability to experience the world in a completely different way. We are really excited for the phase of adventure that this is going to bring for us and our family."