Consider a hypothetical flight plan from Redstone to Cullman to Gadsden and back to Redstone. This flight would have legs in order of 26, 42, and 52 nautical miles.
14 CFR 61.1 provides
Cross-country time means—
(ii) For the purpose of meeting the aeronautical experience requirements (except for a rotorcraft category rating), for a private pilot certificate (except for a powered parachute category rating), a commercial pilot certificate, or an instrument rating, or for the purpose of exercising recreational pilot privileges (except in a rotorcraft) under §61.101(c), time acquired during a flight—
(A) Conducted in an appropriate aircraft;
(B) That includes a point of landing that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure; and
(C) That involves the use of dead reckoning, pilotage, electronic navigation aids, radio aids, or other navigation systems to navigate to the landing point.
The original point of departure is Redstone Army Airfield, and Northeast Alabama Regional is farther than 50 nautical miles away. Would the entire flight count toward the cross-country experience requirements for a private pilot certificate, commercial pilot certificate, or instrument rating? Must the pilot fly the 50+ nm leg first?