Was your friend's radial arm saw (track saw) properly adjusted and aligned? I know if my experience with the radial arm saw (RAS) was using a badly aligned and adjusted one then I would have that opinion too. Fortunately I have a book by Wally Kunkel on "How to Master the Radial Arm Saw" https://mrsawdust.com/ that shows how to properly adjust and align the RAS and that has made all the difference. Like looking through a telescope with excellent optics that isn't collamated and aligned.
? I have a radial arm saw. It is not a track saw. I could rip things with the radial, but I have a table saw.