The man who twice shone a green laser into the cockpit of a plane as it approached Wellington Airport has been sentenced 200 hours' community work for causing unnecessary danger to the flight.

Help desk worker Vladimir Maricic, 25, was sentenced in Wellington District Court today.

Maricic was charged under the Civil Aviation Act with causing unnecessary danger to passengers and crew of the Mt Cook Airlines flight as it approached Wellington Airport about 9pm on March 4 last year.

He twice shone a green flash of light into the cockpit from the car park at the Mt Victoria lookout as the plane flew over Newlands and again as it flew over Wellington Harbour.

Maricic told police at the lookout car park that he did not intend to harm anyone.

He said he had bought the laser over the internet and had thought he would see how far it would reach.

Judge Stephen Harrop described Maricic's actions as potentially catastrophic.

"This sort of behaviour is unacceptable.

"It is extremely dangerous no matter how unintentional," he said during sentencing today.

Previous laser attacks have occurred in Wanganui, Marlborough and Auckland over the past two years.

Retired Marlborough man Bernard Westbrook Long, 60, was convicted and sentenced to 300 hours' community work for aiming a laser beam at Interisland ferries in 2007 and temporarily blinding crew.

- NZPA