MD-88 Nose gear trouble

Date:         04 Dec 96 02:42:17 
From:         riker2@ibm.net (Robert M. Rike, Jr.)
Followups:    1 2 3
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Just wanted to throw something out to you guys out there.  The other
day while flying into Columbia, SC on a md-88 we were coming in on
final approach.  I was sitting right by the wing and saw full flaps
down.  Then I noticed the flaps retracting a bit ans heard the engines
throttle up and we started a slow turn left.  We pass right over the
end of the runway.  The pilot cirlced like this two or three more
times with the flaps partially extended.  Then he came on and
announced that they were having a problem getting a green light on the
nose gear saying that it was locked.  Does this mean it was extending
but not locking in position?  Can the co-pilot or engineer get to the
cargo area and see the landing gear?  Do they have access to those
areas at 180 mph?  He eventually got the green light and we landed
fine.
Also, after such an incident what is the FAA procedure?  Is the plane
grounded for  a complete check over of the nose gear systems?
I am presently working on my private pilots license so this really
intrests me.
Anyone know the procedure if they never did get a green light on the
lock?  Belly landing or main gear only landing?
Thanks in advance for any info,
Robbie Rike