A former pilot banned from carrying passengers after it was suggested he might try to crash a plane has given an emotional account in court of the "sad end" to his career.

Captain Graham Lindsay is this week appealing against a decision by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to stop him flying passengers.

Despite the fact the ban was lifted, Lindsay is battling the decision on principle, saying the decision never should have been made.

He was briefly suspended, made to undergo medical surveillance for two years, and eventually banned from taking passengers after a relative of his ex wife approached the CAA with concerns about his mental stability.


The informant made the suggestion Lindsay might deliberately crash a passenger jet in a murder suicide attempt.

Lindsay gave evidence in the Wellington District Court today in day two of his appeal hearing, at one point becoming tearful during cross examination.

"It's just abhorrent," he said.

"This is about the first time anybody in this process, which has now gone on four years, has actually asked me a serious question about how I do my job professionally ... I'm passionate about it and it's been a very sad way to end my career."

Much of today's evidence delved into Lindsay's messy break-up with his wife, which started in 2009.

According to reports provided by mental health professionals and the family court, Lindsay had a tendency to be controlling, manipulative, and lacked insight into how his behaviour affected his ex.

A protection order was put in place due to the emails he would send her, which the court at the time described as "obsessive, intense and unrelenting".

There was also an incident in which Lindsay allegedly threatened to harm himself in front of the couple's children.


Lindsay also gave evidence about the poor relationship between himself and a clinician appointed to assess his mental health.

His lawyer, Fletcher Pilditch, earlier described the relationship between the two as "fraught" and "mired in conflict", and said it was part of the rationale behind the ban being imposed on Lindsay.

Lindsay told the court he believed the doctor had "misreported" their sessions, noting interactions in a way he did not recollect them happening.

His doctor eventually stood down from the position assessing him, saying he could no longer be effective in the role.

"I have, I believe, in his mind become too intertwined as a negative factor in this process." the doctor wrote.

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Lawyer for the CAA, Duncan Ferrier, said Lindsay was assessed similarly by other health professionals in the past, and that he was the "common denominator".


"The problem isn't with anybody else, the problem is with you ... the problem of ongoing behaviour and the absence of insight into that behaviour," he said.

There was a "pattern of behaviour" from Lindsay that showed up through his divorce and through the medical surveillance period, he said.

"There are safety concerns associated with this aren't there? That pattern might manifest itself in an unsafe aircraft state."

But Lindsay said he and the doctor never discussed how he operated his flight deck or communicated with his crew.

The hearing will continue tomorrow.