Re: Hand flying
'ETOPS - Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim
Yes, I am old fashioned enough to prefer more than two engines for long over-water flights.'
An acronym which again isn't supported by any evidence, there have been no losses of a twin engine jet airliner due to the failure of an or both engines aside from the Hudson river crash which ironically wasn't a long over water flight. However, a four engine airliner losing two engines would also have had to ditch as the design criteria is for the loss of one engine.
'There is no advantage whatsoever to actually doing so unless necessity intervenes, but it is absolutely necessary that the pilots be able to do so in case of need.'
Pilots often cope with normal emergencies perfectly adequately, see http://avherald.com/ for regular examples. This was in no way a normal emergency, it wasn't even in the checklist because Boeing didn't think pilots needed to know about it, you try diagnosing an unknown intermittent fault at 300 miles an hour.
The issue is, if you make pilots hand fly long sectors just for experience, you will have more accidents than you prevent. Which is why they invented simulators, but you still don't practice for failures that no one knows can happen.