The pilot of an experimental amateur-built airplane reported that he felt pressured by a trailing airplane while in the traffic pattern at the airport in Grass Valley, California. He further reported that this pressure caused him to turn base and then final sooner than expected, which resulted in an increased airspeed and higher than expected altitude on final approach.
He decided to proceed with the landing with the intent of using the length of the runway to reduce the airspeed. The flare and landing were affected by the higher than normal airspeed, and resulted in a hard landing.
During the landing roll, the Zodiac began to veer to the left and right ), which progressively increased, resulting in a runway excursion to the left. During the runway excursion, the plane hit a taxiway sign, which disabled the brakes . The airplane continued across the airport until it hit a parked airplane on the ramp. As a result of the impact, a post-impact fire ensued and the airplane was destroyed.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a stabilized approach and landing, which resulted in a hard landing, loss of directional control, runway excursion, and collision with a parked airplane.