I had the same concerns as you did. I happened to find someone selling a cheap AR.Drone 1 along with extra parts and the repair tool for real cheap and ended up buying it. I figured that I could practice with the AR.Drone 1 while I wait for the 2.0 to arrive and if I do crash it I can use it for extra parts since most of the parts are interchangeable with the new drone.
Right away I found out how unstable the AR.Drone 1 was and how you really need to get a good amount of flight in with it before you are able to control it good.I ended up crashing it 2 or three times but it still works.
I then received my AR.Drone 2.0 and the stability is much better. With absolute control mode on I was flying the drone around like a pro and also taking it way up into the sky all while in a strong wind. I have now had more flight time with the AR.Drone 2.0 than I have had with my AR.Drone 1 and still have not had any crash's. You have to be trying to crash this thing, if you want it to crash.
As for the flyways, I have not had this happen and I've flown this thing really high, to the point that it just looks like a little spec in the sky.
Tips i suggest would be to make sure the mobile device your using is in airplane mode and also if you are near any wifi hotspots that the mobile device has used before, go into the settings and remove them from the device so that it does not switch to that other network if it looses connection with the drone, or if it just decides to switch due to better signal to your home wifi.Also I have not upgraded the drones firmware because everyone who has, seems to have issues.