When an aircraft stalls, do all or most lift forces abruptly disappear or is this transition continuous? Will the aircraft drop from the sky like a brick or can this (losing lift and altitude) happen so gradually that it will be entirely unnoticed from the crew and passengers?
I'm troubled by this sentence on Wikipedia referring to the AF447 disaster: "The aircraft remained stalled during its entire 3 minute 30 second descent from 38,000 feet (12,000 m)" (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447#Accident) It seems the crew were unaware of the stall condition. (But let's not discuss the reasons here)
If lift abruptly disappears when entering a stall, wouldn't people notice a considerable loss in perceived body weight at least as long the aircraft accelerates downward and builds up vertical speed downward. I expect that the airframe experiences enormous drag in the vertical direction once downward speed is being built up and it probably reaches an equilibrium condition limiting its fall rate.
But if lift disappears abruptly during the stall, then you should have a sensation of free fall (no weight) at least during a short time. Is this the case or does lift diminish continiously during a stall?
PS: While writing the question i have searched and found those Lift-AoA diagrams (like this: https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/incline.html) that should be able to answer the question. Basically my question is: How quickly does Lift drop off to the right of the diagram. All diagrams i found did not in fact go much beyond the stall condition.