How very uncivilised.The approved answer to all that is grow a pair and man up quim lips.
Serious head says spot on. It's all high workload stuff but at the end of the day there has to be a way to go from monitoring pilot to total control without having to convince the retarded hamster pedalling the computer that you are indeed at the top of the command chain.
Flew F27 with no AP for over a thousand hours and as you say, just some bloke getting up for a piss requires trim bellwhiffery like Lance Armstrong in the TdF until it all settles down again. Hosties bimbling back and forth with meal and drinks carts is a fucking zoo when hand flying. We'll not talk about five hours in IMC sans autopilot on DC3s twice a week chucking Malawian deportees out of the country when the ITCZ is in town. Mentally a killer. Worse in congested airspace but AP allows the freedom to let your mind to wander to other issues that need sorting. Still needs monitoring but that only requires a tenth of the processing capability that hand flying uses.
The main issue is being able to sieze control of the ship with authority, rather than a negotiated settlement over time while it all turns to shit. All those computers make my arse twitch for good reason. They're nice to have but there has to be a positive method to cut them out of the game rather than leaving them a hovering menace that can bite you in the arse because they don't relinquish full control.
ETA: That dead stick landing on the M1 is not something you want to leave to the FMS.
Africa, no A/P, weather, no aircon, no tea served by lithe lovelies.
You are correct on everything else though, don’t have to do it often but ensure I’m ready.
As for the ITCZ, we used to do a run down to Accra, quick night stop and home through the night. It was not unusual to find the bitch waiting for us just north. 50,000’ of evil, hundreds of miles long, the weather radar going tartan, not that we needed it as the night sky was lit up like the Eastern Front in 1942.
More than once I’ve turned round and gone back to Accra. Even another night in that above ground sewer is preferable to trying in vain to find a way through and saved on underwear, vomit up to the windows in the cabin, fuel and ultimately my allocated time on earth.