Virtual reality provides an immersive visual environment that has been used in airborne surveillance tasks. The way in which operators interact with a virtual environment has been seen to influence their situation awareness and physical stress. The present work examines three aspects of interface design within a virtual space: object selection, operator movement, and search method. In two experiments, participants were immersed in a virtual environment and completed a search task and a recall task that mimicked operations seen in airborne surveillance to get measures of situation awareness and physical stress. Additionally, in the second experiment, measures of mental workload were incorporated through a peripheral detection task to examine available cognitive resources. Although all interface designs showed associated advantages and disadvantages, results from the experiments indicated that operator situation awareness and/or physical stress are benefited by a head-gaze selection method, a teleportation movement, and an origin-based search method.