The Civil Aviation Authority has told a court a Pacific Blue flight out of Queenstown in June 2010 was a recipe for an accident.
The authority's general manager of airlines Mark Hughes has been presenting its case against a 54-year-old Auckland pilot at a hearing in Queenstown.
The pilot has been charged with operating the Boeing 737 in a careless manner.
The authority says there was a very real risk the plane could have crashed .
It said the pilot left no safe alternatives in the event of an emergency.
The authority presented evidence which showed other Boeing 737s have crashed when taking off in similar circumstances.
The hearing will adjourn Thursday and resume in May when the defence will present its case.