Steve Haston

Hello, fellow Academy of Model Aeronautics aviators!

My name is Steve Haston, and I have the privilege of being your Foundation director. That’s correct; the AMA Foundation is yours. I am here to be a good steward representing our valued community of members.

Allow me to provide a brief introduction so we can get to know each other.

I have been married for 37 years. I have two sons and four grandchildren.

I am a licensed single-engine private pilot, a second-degree black belt in Okinawan karate, I play tennis and chess, and most importantly, I am a model aviator. I fly non-competition fixed-wing aircraft, RC helicopters, Free Flight models, and rockets.

My dad started my brothers and me in modeling. He built very detailed cars. We quickly moved to things that fly. From paper airplanes to rubber-powered models to Control Line. As my brothers and I got older, we were able to get started with RC. This was expensive for my parents, so if and when we crashed, we rebuilt and flew again, or if unrepairable, we had to save our money to get another aircraft.

I wish we had known about the AMA back then. I wonder how many of you, our members, were in my area and would have helped my brothers and me learn the hobby and sport.

This is among many reasons why the Torchbearer program is vital to the AMA Foundation.

In 1987, I became a firefighter for the city of Noblesville, Indiana. I spent 28 years there. I held the positions of hazardous materials coordinator, operations chief, ladder engineer, and grant coordinator. I also was a founding member of a 501c3 at the fire department. By the way, my wife was a 911 dispatcher for 24 years. She always knew what I was doing.

After being injured while fighting a two-story structure fire, I retired and took a position as the grant and volunteer coordinator and the UAS program manager for Hamilton County Emergency Management. I spent six years there serving the public and building programs that gave back to the community and saved lives. I had the opportunity to personally operate a quadcopter for 10 hours and send video directly to the U.S. Secret Service during a presidential visit.

I am very excited to be here at the AMA Foundation, joining you in preserving and promoting the hobby and community we are so passionate about. We all want to pass on our legacy and see our youth have the same modeling opportunities we had. They are the future of our beloved sport.

Would you consider joining the Torchbearer program today? Your contribution will support the Foundation and help model aeronautics flourish and support our youth, our museum, our scholarships, club support, and many other deserving and worthwhile programs. 

Without your support, our programs would not exist.

Rachelle Haughn

Hello. My name is Rachelle Haughn and I am the new AMA Foundation donor and programs specialist. I have stepped into the role previously held by Austin Perlee, who left the Foundation in early 2022. I am excited to be part of a new and enthusiastic AMA Foundation team!

Perhaps you’ve read some of my articles in Model Aviation or Park Pilot magazines. I have worked for AMA’s Publications/Communications department since 2011. When I first began working for AMA, I mainly focused on copy editing. This included editing text for both of the aforementioned magazines, as well as e-newsletters and many other external member communications. I later served as the editor of e-newsletter AMA Today, which has ceased publication. It was replaced this summer by AMA This Week.

As the years passed. my role at AMA expanded. I began to attend fly-ins and contests across the country, where I took photos and interviewed participants. My event articles were published in Model Aviation and Park Pilot. Meeting and talking with our members became my favorite part of my job at AMA. I enjoyed attending Giant-Scale fly-ins, Free Flight contests, and Control Line events. I also attended a warbird event or two. The more events I attended, the more I saw how passionate our members are about the hobby.

Many of my summers were spent at AMA. I often went to the AMA Nats to take photos, talk with our NatsNews authors, and even write articles about the annual event. I eventually became the NatsNews editor, which allowed me to interact with expert writers in the hobby. When I first began working for AMA, NatsNews was a printed publication. I helped edit the text for it, design it, print it, and distribute it to the pilots on-site. Today, NatsNews is an online blog.

Throughout my time at AMA, I have always been passionate about our members, member giving, and the AMA Foundation. As soon as the Foundation was established in 2013, I was ready to volunteer for whatever it needed. I have helped at special luncheons, fly-ins, and assisted with fundraisers, mailings, and writing copy for the foundation. My daughter and son have even appeared in advertising for the foundation. I have done whatever has been asked of me and enjoyed every minute of it!

During membership renewal time, I have helped renew memberships, process foundation donations, and stuff membership cards. Every time I see a donation from one of our members, I am floored by his or her generosity!

I am excited to see how the AMA Foundation can continue to grow and support the clubs, members, and programs that mean so much to the future of the hobby!

Austin Perlee

Hello! My name is Austin Perlee and some of you might remember me because I helped you with a grant, or we had a conversation at the National Fun Fly, or we communicated through email about making a donation. I was previously the Donor and Program Specialist for the Foundation, a position now held by Rachelle Haughn, until I left the AMA to start a new chapter of my life by moving to Colorado with my partner. 

After moving, I realized that I missed the amazing members, donors, and community that the Academy of Model Aeronautics provides, so they graciously let me return, but now as the Digital Engagement and Development Specialist. In this position, I will be overseeing the Foundation’s media engagement and making sure that we are effectively and efficiently communicating with our donors on what is going on in the world of the Foundation and how your donor dollars are making an impact. 

When I’m not writing emails, working on blog posts, talking with donors, or collaborating with both Steve and Rachelle, you can most likely find me outside hiking with my 3-year-old silver lab and partner. We love exploring the mountains, hitting the beach, and checking out some incredible restaurants around Denver and Boulder. If you’re ever in the area I can definitely provide you with some fun things to do and great places to eat!