At Maker Faire, Chris said auto-land is a hard problem. While I don't have much to contribute to that yet, I did want to try deploying a ballistic parachute mid-air to bring a plane down. A few others have shared successful parachute systems before.
So obviously the parachute shock cord just ripped straight out. The lesson is you can't use that simple paper shock cord mount design you glued into little model rockets as a kid to slow down a 3 pound Bixler mid-cruise.
I am kind of surprised that the ignitor circuit worked on the first try, and that the Sugru + masking tape tube mounting held!
I was also surprised at the pitch moment; I guess I could have computed it beforehand. I didn't think the rocket's moment arm against the vertical CG would cause it to flip forward that much. Also, the parachute was slightly burnt. I should switch to that "dog barf" fiber insulation instead of using recovery wadding.
Here's the pre-fail overview.