Sky hopes for both teams' fans

BILL KAUFMANN, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Football loyalties are starkly drawn between airmen of the Canadian military's Saskatchewan-based Snowbirds.

But there'll be no dog fights when the nine Tutor jets buzz today's Grey Cup parade and tomorrow's game at McMahon Stadium, said Capt. Dan Rossi, the team's safety pilot.

"They'll fly in various formation with smoke but there'll be nothing crazy," said Rossi, 34, a native of Alberta's Crowsnest Pass who's cheering on the Roughriders.

Nor will there be other signs the crowd can use to determine which team each pilot's loyalties, said Ontarian Cpl. Eric Beauchesne, Snowbirds technical co-ordinator and an Alouettes fan.

"They won't be pulling any banners -- they'd burn up behind the jets," he said.

But the Snowbirds have recently added a likely Alouettes' loyalist -- Capt. Jean-Francois Dupont from Montreal and second replacement pilot -- Capt. Yannick Gregoire of Mississauga, Ont.

"It's their first nine-plane fly-past," said Rossi. "They've been working up for this for the past few months."

To assure safety, Rossi will take a perch in the Calgary Tower to perform air-traffic control.

"For a little while, it'll be the tallest control tower in the world," he said.


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